THERE can be no bigger political football in the last few years than the jobs in the two Clyde shipyards.

During the referendum it was a fiercely debated topic whether the Royal Navy would build ships in an independent country.

The iconic status of the industry has given added significance but the economic importance of the yards to Scotland’s economy is much more than that.

Shipbuilding on the Clyde may not be what is was in its heyday but the jobs are still high value, thousands more in the supply chain are dependent on a flow of orders and the reputation for Clyde built quality is as strong as it ever was.

The new potential threat to the jobs is the concern over reports that the Type 26 Frigate deal could be cut from the original 13 vessels.

Whether it is to be cut to pay for Trident or simply to reduce budgets the effect would be the same jobs would be lost.

The workers, management and unions have performed miracles in ensuring the yards, particularly Govan, have remained open in the face of a succession of threats and the current order book is possibly the most secure the jobs have been in years.

The workforce deserves clarity and certainty over their future. The sooner the contracts for all 13 ships are signed the better for all concerned.