BAE Systems' job losses higher than feared

Staff at BAE Systems in Scotstoun in Scotland. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The job losses are higher than first feared. 1800 will be cut in both England and Scotland.

But it is Portsmouth, home to the Royal Navy, which feel suffer the most from today's announcement.

Shipbuilding in the Hampshire port is effectively coming to an end.

Workers watch as the forward section of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as it is moved on to barge on Portsmouth in May 2012. Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

The BAE Systems site - which in recent years has constructed big sections of the two new aircraft carriers - will no longer build ships. It will only have a maintenance role in future years.

That said, it would be wrong to underestimate the effect of many hundreds of job losses on the banks of the River Clyde.

The Govan and Scotstoun yards sit opposite one another. Govan has been, and is still, in work.

Govan is building sections of the two aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Staff at BAE Systsems' Scotstoun yard wave as Duncan, the Type 45 Destroyer, leaves the yard to head to HM Naval Base Portsmouth. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive

Scotstoun has enjoyed work building the Royal Navy's new Type 45 Destroyers.

The job cuts are the harsh consequences of a lack of orders from the Ministry of Defence. A inevitable decision which was set in motion by the Defence Review in 2010.

It appears the Scottish yards will be given some work to keep them busy over the next two or three years - Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will give details later.

But today's decision effectively means the new order for a fleet of Type 26 Global Combat Ships (to replace the Type 23 frigates) will now go to Govan.

Staff at BAE preparing Duncan, the Type 45 Destroyers, to leave BAE Systems Scotstoun yard. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive

The yard will now provide UK's capability for shipbuilding.

But taken with a decision to base all of the Royal Navy's submarines at Scotland's Faslane base - some MPs have questioned the logic of basing so much of the UK's defence capability in Scotland - when, in less than a year, there will be a referendum on whether the country should be independent and split from the UK - together with all of it's defence assets.