Protests over shipbuilding cuts

Around 200 demonstrators have held a rally over BAE Systems' decision to cut 940 jobs at its Portsmouth site, ending centuries of shipbuilding in the city.

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Bittersweet day for Scottish shipbuilding

The heavy blow of hundreds of job losses in Scottish shipbuilding has been softened by the announcement of new contracts that will keep operations in Govan going for more than two decades.

Scotland Correspondent Debi Edward reports on the response from the shipbuilders on a decision that politically protects those campaigning against Scottish independence ahead of next year's referendum.

Read: Was Anglo-Scottish shipyard battle a fair fight?

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Portsmouth council: Political motives behind closure

The leader of Portsmouth City Council has said the decision to shut down the city's shipyard, which is the only one in England able to build advanced surface warships, smacks of politics.

The remaining yards with the capability to build advanced warships are in Scotland, and the referendum on Scottish independence is less than one year away. Ministers have put the defence of the UK and the future of the Navy at real risk.

– Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson

Portsmouth Conservative councillor Alistair Thompson added: "Many of those who I represent as a councillor are hugely concerned that this decision has been taken for political reasons because of the referendum in Scotland next year."

Sturgeon: Clyde's win over Portsmouth not political

Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has played down the impact of next year's referendum on the decision to maintain shipbuilding in Scotland, while operations will come to an end in Portsmouth.

The Clyde has won these contracts because it's the best place to build the frigates. That won't change with independence.

I've just heard Philip Hammond in the House of Commons confirm what BAE said this morning, that the Clyde was the most effective and value-for-money place to build the contract. That's the reality and I mean no disrespect to Portsmouth about that.

There's been an investment in the Clyde in recent years. The skill mix in the Clyde means that that's the best place to build these ships.

– Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Sturgeon 'sorry' to see shipbuilding in Portsmouth end

Nicola Sturgeon is the MSP for Govan, which is home to a BAE Systems yard by the River Clyde. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is "sorry" to see the end of shipbuilding in Portsmouth and described the loss of 800 jobs across Scottish yards as a "significant and devastating blow" to the country's workers.

Ms Sturgeon, though, said the Scottish government "welcomed" BAE Systems' decision to continue to build in Clyde, which she said reflects the "workforce's world-class expertise and skills mix".

She said the government will work with the firm and with those who face redundancy to try to find them alternative work after the mass axing.

While some Scottish jobs remain, Ms Sturgeon added: "We recognise the disappointment that faces shipbuilders in Portsmouth."

Read: BAE Systems' job losses higher than feared

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