Govan loses MoD award to VSEL

The future of the Kvaerner Govan shipyard in Scotland was threatened last night by the news that a crucial defence contract is to be placed in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

The Scottish Secretary, Michael Forsyth, also looked increasingly embattled after publicly pledging that he would fight to secure the contract for the Kvaerner Govan yard on the Clyde.

Mr Forsyth is also believed to have spent weeks trying to persuade the relevant Cabinet committees to give him at least part of the deal to take back to Scotland as a prize. He, Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind and the President of the Board of Trade, Ian Lang, all have marginal seats in Scotland.

Mr Forsyth had visited the Kvaerner Govan yard to give it his support, but last night more than 1,000 jobs were under threat after the pounds 200m order for two Royal Navy tankers went to GEC Marine's VSEL yard instead.

Last night the shadow Scottish secretary, George Robertson, said the decision was a humiliation for Mr Forsyth. "This is a bitter blow for Kvaerner and the people of Govan," he said. "It is also a humiliation for Michael Forsyth who has lost yet another battle in the Cabinet.

"Kvaerner is a superb, high- efficiency yard which deserves better treatment than this."

Sigbjorn Ellingsen, the managing director of Kvaerner Govan, said the decision was a "severe blow". He warned that up to 1,000 jobs would be lost at the yard by the end of the year, leaving just a skeleton staff.

"Kvaerner Govan is working its hardest to win new contracts world-wide to meet both its short and long-term requirements - a task not helped by the strength of the pound," he said.

However, the Ministry of Defence said that the VSEL bid offered the "best value for money for the taxpayer".

The order will create a near- monopoly for the building of large warships in Britain, placing the MoD's competitive procurement policy in shipbuilding in some doubt.

GEC Marine has also been selected to build the navy's new Batch 2 Trafalgar class attack submarines, provided an acceptable price can be agreed.

The leader of the Scottish Liberal-Democrats, Jim Wallace, described the decision as "a slap in the face for the Scottish economy".

He added: "The decision by the Government to build two new tankers at GEC Marine rather than at Kvaerner Govan has thrown the future of the Govan yard plus 1,250 jobs into doubt. Once again it is a slap in the face for the Scottish economy. Michael Forsyth must tell us what advantage there has been on this occasion of him being Scotland's man in the Cabinet."

Mr Forsyth expressed his disappointment at the Govan yard's failure to win the contract and pledged his officials would discuss with the management what might be done to secure the yard's future.

But he added: "At the end of the day this is of course a matter for the MoD. They must ensure value for money to taxpayers."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape