Parliament and Politics: Glasgow jobs move put in jeopardy

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THE Government was facing a major embarrassment last night after admitting that 700 jobs promised for Glasgow may go to Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Margaret Ewing MP, Parliamentary leader of the Scottish National Party, voiced fears during business questions in the Commons. She called for a statement from Malcolm Rifkind, the Secretary of State for Defence, on the future of the Army personnel centre, which she said had been designated for Glasgow in 1995.

Tony Newton, Leader of the House, stressed that no decisions had been taken yet.

The about-turn apparently results from a blunder in which officials recommended centralising Army pay and personnel operations in Glasgow - unaware there was an office block in Stockport available for a fifth of the price. When first announced by the Government it was hailed by Ian Lang, Secretary of State for Scotland, as 'great news for Glasgow'.

Scottish Office ministers were said to be privately 'furious' at the development, disclosed in a Commons reply by Archie Hamilton, the Armed Forces Minister. Civil service unions in Scotland were even angrier, claiming that if the jobs go to Stockport, about 450 existing Ministry of Defence jobs in Glasgow are likely to move to Stockport as well.