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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Anger at sub work transfer
Babcock Rosyth
The Rosyth dockyard lost out on the MoD contract
Supporters of the Rosyth naval dockyard have seized on a scathing report by MPs into the spiralling cost of transferring nuclear submarine work to Devonport.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee said it was unacceptable that taxpayers were having to foot a bill of 300m more than expected after the decision to switch repair work from Scotland to England.

The decision in the 1990s to award the navy's submarine repair and refitting contract to Devonport rather than Rosyth was hugely controversial and is still bitterly resented by those connected with the Fife yard.

Since then, the bills to build new facilities to service the work at the Plymouth yard have escalated.

Private sector

The cost overrun is now more than 300m.

In its report, the Public Accounts Committee has pulled no punches.

The MPs were scathing at the role of the Ministry of Defence, branding its assurances as ''hollow'' and saying it is unacceptable that taxpayers should have to pick up the bill when the risk was meant to have been transferred to the private sector.

Ian Davidson MP, a member of the public accounts committee, confirmed there had been "a tremendous cost overrun" in the contract.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, he said: "The company hadn't looked properly at what they were meant to be designing before they actually started building, which meant that work then had to be redone to take account of nuclear safety rules, all of which were available at the very start."

Mr Davidson also branded the move of the contract to England as a "total waste of money".

'Political gain'

Although the report focused on Devonport, supporters of Rosyth argued it was an example - albeit a hugely costly one - of why the work should have been placed with the Scottish yard.

Rachel Squire, MP for Dunfermline West and a member of the Common's defence select committee, said that those responsible for the decision to send the work to Devonport should apologise to the people of Fife and Scotland as a whole.

She said: "No apology will bring back the 10,000 jobs we lost at the time, but it was clearly done purely for what the Conservative government hoped would be the political gain of keeping some south west of England seats."


SEE ALSO:
Inquiry over damaged sub
26 May 03  |  Devon
Protest at submarine base
22 Apr 03  |  Scotland
Warning on subs work
20 Apr 03  |  Devon
Nuclear sub return plan discussed
18 Mar 03  |  England


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