Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Thursday, 9 September 2010 14:19 UK

First minister's questions

As many as "10,000 jobs across Scotland" could be lost if the UK Government scrapped the building of two new aircraft carriers, Alex Salmond told MSPs during first ministers question time on 9 September 2010.

Mr Salmond was responding to a question from Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray, who called for a "spirit of unity" and for cross-party and union representatives to meet with the Ministry of Defence to "save Scotland's ship building industry."

Mr Gray asked the question after doubts were raised over whether the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition at Westminster would press ahead with the £5bn plan for the new Royal Navy vessels.

BAE systems chief executive Sir Ian King had previously disclosed the company had been asked to consider a number of options ranging from "one carrier to no carrier".

With work underway at the shipyards on the Clyde and Rosyth, Mr Salmond agreed this was a "hugely serious issue".

He said the Scottish government had prepared a dossier which would spell out "the full implications of the cancellation of one or both projects".

The first minister called for other parties to join with him, saying: "I want as far as possible on this issue to get the maximum Scottish unity if we are to make an effective submission to the Ministry of Defence."

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie called on the Scottish govevernment to "stop spending taxpayer's cash" promoting an independence referendum now that the Referendum Bill had been shelved.

The bill will be published this year but will not be voted on at the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Liberal leader Tavish Scott asked if the first minister could gaurantee future of a course in renewable energy, which he said was "under threat because of red tape".

Mr Scott was highlighting a four-year technicians' course at Carnegie College, Dunfermline, established with help from German firm Siemens.


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