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Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell
"It's bitter news, particularly coming on the back of the announcement made by the secretary of state for defence"
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Tuesday, 10 July, 2001, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Ministers under fire over Clyde cuts
Shipyard workers
BAE said it will cut 1,000 jobs at two yards
A decision to cut 1,000 jobs at BAE Systems' shipyards on the River Clyde has sparked a political storm.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon's announcement of destroyer work for the Govan and Scotstoun yards has failed to stave off the threat of redundancy for a sizeable proportion of the workforce.

While Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell said it was "bitter news" for the workers who would lose their jobs, she expressed "delight" that the destroyer contracts would secure the future of the yards.

Helen Liddell
Helen Liddell: "Bitter blow"
Mrs Liddell had put out a prepared statement welcoming the destroyer contracts but qualified her remarks when news of the cuts was made public 15 minutes later.

She said: "It's bitter news, particularly coming on the back of the announcement made by the secretary of state for defence that secures shipbuilding on the Clyde for a decade and indeed the lengths that the government has gone to to secure these orders is quite considerable indeed.

However, the minister added: "This contract will provide sustained and secure employment for the yards at Govan and Scotstoun for some time to come, and ensure a continuation of the Clyde yards' warship-building capability."

Her views were echoed by Scotland's First Minister Henry McLeish and Govan Labour politicians Gordon Jackson and Mohammed Sarwar.

Scottish National Party MSP Nicola Sturgeon said it was a "devastating blow to the workers and their families".

She said: "It is extremely disappointing that the Ministry of Defence and the UK Labour Government have failed to safeguard the workers from the shortfall in their order books.

'Sold down the river'

"Scottish defence related jobs have been lost because London Labour have been unable to protect the workers in the Clyde yards.

"The Ministry of Defence has rejected a bid to build two supply ships or to bring work forward to safeguard jobs on the Clyde until work from existing contracts begins."

Glasgow Tory MSP Bill Aitken expressed disgust at the job losses.

He said: "These men have done everything asked of them over the last few years, only to be sold down the river by the Labour Government.

"Coming only a month after the general election, this cynical decision leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.

"It simply must have been possible to phase this work to ensure that there would be no redundancies on the Clyde."

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See also:

10 Jul 01 | Scotland
1,000 Clyde shipyard jobs to go
10 Jul 01 | Business
BAE, Vosper win destroyer order
10 Jul 01 | Scotland
Unions pledge to fight yard cuts
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