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20 February 2015, 13:06
An £859 million investment in the next generation of Royal Navy frigates, sustaining 1,700 jobs across the country, has been announced by the Government.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the money will be spent on developing the Type 26 warship, which will be built on the Clyde in Scotland.
The ship will replace Type 23s, with around 13 expected to be built by BAE Systems for service in the early 2020s.
Around 600 jobs will be safeguarded in Scotland, with other BAE Systems sites and supply chain firms also benefiting in areas including Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, Manchester, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Hampshire.
The Prime Minister said during a visit to the Govan shipyard in Glasgow: "This is a substantial investment in our shipbuilding industry, safeguarding the jobs of 600 workers in Scotland and many more across the UK. Investing in these warships will ensure we continue to keep our country safe, at home and abroad.
"As part of our long-term economic plan, we're not just building the most advanced modern warships in the world - we are building the careers of many young people with apprenticeships that will set them up for life.''
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in British industry and forms part of our commitment to invest over #160 billion in equipment and equipment support over the next 10 years.
"As a result, our military will have some of the most impressive and technologically-advanced capabilities in the world, from the aircraft carriers and the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets to the Type 45 destroyers, Scout armoured vehicles, the A400M and the Astute Class submarines.''
BAE Systems chief executive Ian King said: "We have a long and proud heritage of delivering complex warships in the UK and today's announcement is a significant endorsement of the Government's commitment to sustain this important national capability.
"We are committed to working with the Government, the Ministry of Defence and our partners in the maritime supply chain to ensure the Royal Navy has the capability it needs to protect national interests, while ensuring the best value for money for UK taxpayers.
"Through the Type 26 programme, we are transforming the way we design and manufacture naval ships with innovative new technologies, leading-edge processes and modern infrastructure. New ways of working ensure we can continue to deliver the highest quality equipment at the lowest possible cost and compete effectively for future UK and international orders.''
The first Type 26 is due to enter service as soon as possible after 2020 and will remain in service until 2060.
The development contract is expected to support around 30 companies in the supply chain.
David Hulse, national officer of the GMB union, said: "This announcement is very good news in that it secures the future of the Clydeside shipyards and the skilled workforce and will enable the company to provide a substantial number of much-needed apprenticeships.
"The uncertain international climate calls into question the Tory plans for further cuts in defence spending in the next parliament. These will impact on the capacity of the Army, the Navy and the RAF at a time when the UK needs to be able to deal with all threats to national security. The skilled shipyard and defence workforce are as much on the front line as the forces in uniform.
"During the election campaign the electorate need to question Tory spending plans where the combined annual budget of non-protected departments would have to come down by a third in real terms. A cut of one third in defence spending is simply not on and these plans must be changed.''