AS AN island nation Britain depends on the Royal Navy to keep us safe and to keep trading routes open. We are investing billions in a growing Royal Navy, building two new aircraft carriers, new Type 26 Global Combat Ships, Dreadnought and Astute submarines, and offshore patrol vessels. We are also developing a new class of General Purpose Frigate so that by the 2030s we can further expand the size of the fleet. This major investment programme will increase the power, reach, and size of our Royal Navy.

A successful naval shipbuilding industry, in which Scotland has always played such a central part, is essential to delivering the warships in our fleet. In the past, however, government and industry’s approach to defence procurement has not always delivered the capability we need, at the price agreed, or to the timetable set.

That’s why earlier this year the Government asked respected industrialist Sir John Parker to conduct a review of shipbuilding in the UK and report back by the Autumn Statement. Over the last six months Sir John has consulted widely across government, industry, and the trade unions.

His report, published today, provides a fundamental re-appraisal of how we undertake shipbuilding in order to place UK naval ship building on a sustainable long-term footing. Taking lessons from our world class automotive industry and other sectors, it sets the foundations for an innovative and competitive sector capable of meeting the country’s future defence and security needs.

The government welcomes this report and shares Sir John’s ambition for shipbuilding. We are committed to deliver a National Shipbuilding Strategy. We see it as a vital part of our Industrial Strategy to rebalance Britain. We will examine its detailed recommendations to inform our National Shipbuilding Strategy that will be published next spring.

This ambition means maintaining our naval prowess to assure Britain’s role in the world – backed up by a rising defence budget that means over the next two decades we will spend billions on Royal Navy warships built on the Clyde.

It also means using the opportunities of our shipbuilding expertise to become a leading producer of ships for export. We must use the opportunities that Brexit provides to become a global trading power again. When I meet my international counterparts I promote the expertise we have in Scotland, and elsewhere in the UK. It has been very encouraging to see the positive reception we’ve had from nations like Canada, Australia, and Germany.

This report is about a new future for shipbuilding – a future based on growth. Whether you’re employed by BAE, excited by the opportunities at other yards, or involved in the wider supply chains, this is an opportunity for a success story with the benefits flowing right across our country and opening up new opportunities for the people who work in Scottish yards.

One of the opportunities that Sir John identifies is the way Scotland’s cutting edge technology can allow for Modular Construction, where component ship parts can be produced across the UK before being assembled at a central hub. The build of the Royal Navy’s largest ever warships, the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, have already demonstrated the success of such an approach, with multiple shipyards and hundreds of companies working together and benefiting from the aircraft carrier build.

There is already a vibrant shipbuilding and marine engineering sector in Scotland but we are committed to seeing that grow even stronger, with a new focus on exports.

Our vision is a strong naval shipbuilding sector, backed up by a modern industrial strategy. By government, industry and employees working together, we can transform the industry to compete with the best and to ensure the Royal Navy get more of the ships it needs, on time, and to budget.

Sir Michael Fallon, defence secretary