PLANS to delay or potentially ditch the building of new frigates in Scotland are yet another sign the Better Together prospectus has "fallen apart”.

Two years after former prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans to build five new Type 32 frigates at Rosyth shipyard in a bid to make the UK “the foremost naval power in Europe”, it is understood the project could be pulled putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Ministry of Defence (MoD) insiders told The Times ships are unlikely to survive the upcoming defence review as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt attempts to limit government spending.

Work on the £2.5 billion new frigates was expected to ramp up at Rosyth from 2028 and provide more than 1200 jobs. It was also hoped it would keep thousands of jobs afloat in the wider supply chain for most of the following decade.

The SNP have said rowing back on the project would represent a “gross betrayal” of Scotland and have called on Douglas Ross to stand up to his colleagues at Westminster. Meanwhile, the Greens have argued it’s another example of how the Tories are throwing Better Together promises to the wayside.

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Back in 2014, former prime minister and prominent Better Together campaigner Gordon Brown warned that independence would threaten the future of the Rosyth dockyard, saying jobs at the shipyard depended on Scotland remaining part of the UK.

Green MSP Ross Greer said: “This should come as no surprise from a Tory party that torpedoes their promises at every turn.

"The reality is that the entire Better Together prospectus has fallen apart.

"In 2014 Scotland was promised a No vote would bring stability in the European Union, but we were given a reckless Brexit and the many failures of Boris Johnson. We were promised a strong economy but we got runaway inflation and the disasters of Liz Truss.

“In this case, workers on the Forth were told that a No vote would secure more frigate orders, and that has proven to be wrong as well.

"It is yet another example of why we need to take out future into our own hands as an independent nation, rather than forever being beholden to the decisions and lies of a Tory government that we did not vote for but cannot remove."

The National: Ross Greer said the Better Together prospectus has 'fallen apart' after No campaigners said a Union vote would save shipbuilding in ScotlandRoss Greer said the Better Together prospectus has 'fallen apart' after No campaigners said a Union vote would save shipbuilding in Scotland (Image: Newsquest)

The National attempted to contact the Scottish Conservatives for comment but had no response.

In 2014, Rosyth dockyard employed 2000 skilled staff but since, under Tory rule, hundreds of jobs have been axed.

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In 2016 Rosyth also lost out on an aircraft carrier contract when UK Government contractor Serco opted for a Dutch company instead.

Meanwhile, the UK Government promised the Clyde yards decades of work building 13 Type 26 frigates, but this was eventually reduced to eight – a move that was branded an “absolute disgrace” by SNP MP Brendan O’Hara at the time.

The work was promised by then prime minister David Cameron on the condition Scotland voted No to independence.

Work on Type 26 frigates at BAE Systems Clyde yards and Type 31 frigates at Babcock’s Rosyth yard peaks in the second half of this decade and then starts to wind down, industry executives have said.

This had led to fears of job losses in Scotland’s shipbuilding industry if the Type 32 project comes to a halt.

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The SNP’s defence spokesperson at Westminster, Dave Doogan, said scrapping the Type 32 contract would be a “devastating blow” to Scottish shipbuilding.

He said: “If the Prime Minister does indeed scrap Type 32, it would represent a gross betrayal of Scotland and of industry partners, principally Babcock.

“Babcock has invested huge levels of private capital in Rosyth and are right now delivering the extraordinary Type 31 frigate and, with it, unprecedented value for money to the taxpayer.

“However, despite the exceptional success of Type 31 to date, it should come as no surprise that the UK Government is attempting to rip up its commitment to Type 32 after recently awarding the Royal Navy’s three Fleet Solid Support ships to Navantia in Spain rather than to Scotland. 

“We know Mr Ross has a poor record when it comes to standing up to his bosses at Westminster, but he too knows how devastating a blow this would be for Scottish shipbuilding.

“That is why I am challenging Douglas Ross to stand up for Scotland’s world class warship building industry.”