Miliband refuses to guarantee shipyard jobs

Labour leader Ed Miliband on the roof terrace of Standard Life in Edinburgh today where he took part in a Q&A. Picture: PA Wire

Labour leader Ed Miliband on the roof terrace of Standard Life in Edinburgh today where he took part in a Q&A. Picture: PA Wire

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LABOUR leader Ed Miliband has refused to offer a jobs guarantee to shipyard workers on the Clyde if Scotland decides to back independence.

He was challenged to make the pledge during a visit to Edinburgh, one day after BAE announced that 1,775 jobs will go across the UK.

Shipbuilding will end at Portsmouth in the second half of next year and hundreds of jobs will be lost in Scotland at the Govan and Scotstoun yards in Glasgow as well as at Rosyth in Fife.

But work on the new Type 26 vessels is earmarked for the Glasgow yards.

UK Government ministers have already hinted that this work could go elsewhere if people in Scotland vote Yes to independence next September.

Mr Miliband was asked to say whether he, as a potential future prime minister, would offer to protect the work on the Clyde irrespective of the referendum result.

“I want us to win the referendum – I think it’s incredibly important that Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom,” he responded.

“If there is uncertainty, it is uncertainty caused by the Scottish National Party – uncertainty caused by a party that wants to split away from the United Kingdom.

“The best way, not just on naval capacity and shipbuilding, but on currency and economic policy, is for Scotland to stay part of the United Kingdom.”

Asked again to offer a guarantee, he said: “When it comes to your naval capacity you’ve got a take a long, hard look at the way these things are done.

“I’m not contemplating defeat in the referendum.”

SEE ALSO:

BAE Systems job cuts: Political storm over shipyards

Independent Scotland can build ships – Sturgeon

Bill Jamieson: More to us than shipbuilding

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