Skip to main content

MPs examine the future of military shipbuilding in Scotland

25 February 2022

In the second phase of its Defence in Scotland work, the Scottish Affairs Committee launches a new inquiry examining military shipbuilding in Scotland.

Shipbuilding in Scotland currently supports 7,000 jobs in Scotland, many of which are highly skilled. Maintaining this employment, and a flourishing sector, relies on a regular drumbeat of orders.

However, in last year’s Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, the UK Government revised its shipbuilding strategy to allow the possibility of more open international competition, rather than all Royal Navy warships being designed and built solely in the UK. Unions have expressed concern that this position undermines the confidence that the industry requires in order to invest.

The Committee will be exploring the impacts such policy changes are having on the industry in Scotland. It will also consider the opportunities for Scotland of exporting design licences for ships, and what more the UK Government could be doing to support the sector.

Chair's comment

Scottish Affairs Committee Chairman, Pete Wishart, said:

“In the next phase of our Defence in Scotland inquiry series, we will be considering military shipbuilding and the much-anticipated National Shipbuilding Strategy refresh. The shipbuilding industry in Scotland supports many highly skilled jobs, but its future success could be undermined by UK defence policy. During this inquiry, we will look at what challenges changes in defence policy present for the sector, and the potential opportunities which can be opened up for Scottish industry through exports.”

This inquiry will build on the recent Defence Committee report, “We’re going to need a bigger Navy”, and the Government response, which has been published today. In it the Government responds to the Committee’s recommendations to expand and upgrade the UK’s fleet and support our shipbuilding industry.

Terms of reference

The Committee is inviting written submissions by Tuesday 10 May. These should focus on, but not be limited to:

  • What impacts are the Government’s Shipbuilding Strategy and National Shipbuilding Office having on the shipbuilding industry in Scotland?
  • How many and what types of Royal Navy ships will likely be built in Scotland in the years ahead? Will the sector grow?
  • How does the procurement approach for each class of Royal Navy ship being determined on a case-by-case basis (including whether or not there should be international competition) affect Scottish shipbuilding
  • To what extent does Scotland benefit from exporting military ships (or parts of them) and/or their design licences? How can these opportunities be maximised?
  • What more could the UK Government do to maintain and foster military shipbuilding in Scotland?

Further information

Image: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021