Work has started on a £1.25 billion project to build the Royal Navy's five new warships as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace cut steel for the first vessel.

The ceremony for HMS Venturer today took place at Babcock's facility at Rosyth in Fife, where the new Type 31 frigates are being built.

The newest of the Royal Navy's frigate fleet will undertake a variety of roles on operations including interception and disruption of illegal activity at sea, intelligence gathering, defence engagement and providing humanitarian support.

Babcock chief executive David Lockwood said: "This is a significant moment. We are witnessing what the national shipbuilding strategy can achieve. Working with our partners and customers, we are creating something we can all be very proud of.

"The T31 class will show the adaptability and capability of a modern warship created with British ingenuity and engineering at its core. I'm looking forward to seeing these magnificent vessels emerge from our newly named Venturer Building."

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Nick Hine and International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan were among those present at the event, along with Director General Ships, Vice Admiral Chris Gardner of Defence Equipment and Support.

Mr Wallace described the event as a "great milestone in the renaissance of British shipbuilding".

He said: "Today is a momentous occasion for the Type 31 programme, defence and the shipbuilding industry in Scotland. As Shipbuilding Tsar, to cut the steel for the first of five new frigates that will be constructed here on our shores in the Firth of the Forth, providing jobs and innovation to the area, is a tremendous honour."

The construction of the fleet will support around 1,250 highly skilled jobs at Babcock and see the creation of an additional 150 apprenticeships, while a further 1,250 roles in the UK supply chain are also expected to be supported by the programme.

The Type 31 fleet is expected to be delivered by the end of 2028 and to enter service with the Royal Navy by the end of 2030, with the first expected in the water in 2023.

The Type 31 will carry a crew of up to 105 that will be deployed on duties around the world, working alongside new Type 26 frigates, which are being made in Glasgow by BAE Systems.

All five Type 31 vessels will be built by Babcock on the Firth of the Forth with an average production cost of £250 million per vessel.

Homes created at site of former police station

Thirty-seven new affordable mid-market homes have been created at the site of a former police station in Main Street, Baillieston, on behalf of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).

The rental properties will be let and managed by GHA's sister organisation, Lowther, which are both part of Wheatley Group. The flats are the first of 900 homes Lowther plans to build in Glasgow during the next five years.

Laura Gordon: Making tough calls with eye on long term

Last week’s reshuffle of Boris Johnson’s cabinet saw some big moves with names like Liz Truss and Nadhim Zahawi moved into new roles and key minsters removed from office.

Dramatic reshuffles and sackings may not be that uncommon in politics but the same can’t always be said in business, especially when it comes to senior roles.

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