U.K. Government Pressured To Award Locally

Thursday, April 20, 2000
Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers last Thursday promised the government would give "fullest consideration" to Govan shipyard's bid for a defense contract for roll-on roll-off ferries. The government is in a precarious position with the contracts, stuck between selecting a shipbuilder in accordance with EU directives regarding fair competition and subsidies, balanced against the expected political pull to place the contract with a national yard. As the Scottish shipyard's future hangs in the balance, Byers said no decision had been made on the Ministry of Defense (MoD) contract but added the government was conscious of the importance of the order. "No decisions have been taken over the award of future MoD orders which could affect this yard. But we are well aware of the importance of these orders for the future of Govan," he told the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Scottish conference. Govan's parent group, defense group BAE Systems Plc, has warned that job prospects at the shipyard hinge on the decision.

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