Colin Jackson raises the interesting point that the Royal Fleet Auxillary are placing contracts for new tankers with a South Korean firm yet he states that the Royal Navy would not place contracts with a Scottish shipyard should Scotland become independent (Letters, June 30).
This is despite the fact that Scottish shipyards won the contracts for the two aircraft carriers because they were deemed to be the most economically efficient yards in the United Kingdom, and that future contracts placed in Scotland would result in a massive employment boost with sub-contracts through the rest of the UK.
While at this time one cannot commit an independent Scottish Government, it seems likely that they will want a better naval defence than that provided by the Royal Navy and will probably have to buy into the construction of something like the Type 26 frigates.
Given the severe economic weakness of the UK, the Scottish Government's decision to build naval ships in Scotland is exactly the kind of bonus Scottish independence will bring to the rest of the UK.
The rest of the UK will receive an even bigger bonus from Scotland if an independent Scotland also scraps Trident.
"Our shipbuilding", as Colin Jackson calls it, consists of the construction of large steel hull sections for military vessels on the Clyde and assembling them on the Forth. According to him, if independence puts this activity at risk the answer should be no to independence. When I began my training as an engineer in the 1950s there were around a dozen shipyards on the Clyde, some of which employed more men than BAE. Independence as an arrangement only makes sense if it is intended to last centuries, as it did first time around.
Can Mr Jackson explain why he attaches such importance to this one activity?
John Fleming CEng,
34 Kessington Drive, Glasgow.
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