Select Committee on Work and Pensions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80 - 81)

MONDAY 20 MAY 2002


Mr Duncan

  80. On that positive note, can I ask you all what is your assessment for the future, not necessarily constrained by this ten year framework? Glasgow City Council said in their submission to us that beyond 2015 the future of UK defence spending is uncertain—and that is substantially the market we are currently in—and that beyond that the level of warship build will reduce. Bearing that in mind, what is your crystal ball for the future?
  (Mr Carrigan) I think it is fair to say that it is in the Task Force Report and we agree very much with the Task Force Report and we agree with Glasgow Council's synopsis. We cannot see beyond 2015, we do not have a crystal ball in that sense. We hope the work that is going on up to that time will make us more competitive, make us more productive. We hope to see the joined«up writing with Government. We can never tell what is going to happen in the political context on a global basis, but we certainly hope we are going to be more competitive. We certainly hope when we meet the company on 31 May we will draw a line under the current round of redundancies and that will help morale, we will see more retraining, and we will be a happier place and that will act as a harbinger for improved productivity and so forth. We are not totally pessimistic. I hope that does not sound like complacency but at the end of the day over the past 30 years we have seen peaks and troughs and, if you have a 10 to 15 year programme, that looks attractive and good and it gives us that cushion, we believe, and that cushion has to be used for improvement, has to be used for doing things which will make us better, smarter and hopefully convince the company they should be in commercial work as well as military work.

  Chairman: We have come to the last question of the day and I will give it to Mr Robertson, who was responsible for bringing us all here because he went to great lengths to convince the Committee this was an appropriate inquiry to do.

Mr Robertson

  81. Thank you, Chairman. I think by the Committee's evidence-gathering I have proved my subject was a correct one. Can I thank you all for coming, and obviously the people who were here earlier, thank them for coming too to which is of course the best constituency in Scotland and the United Kingdom, and I hope that gets my majority up a little bit! I have had one great fear during all the evidence I have heard and having talked to the company, and that is that the company never gives the full story. Could I ask you, do you have that fear as well?
  (Mr Webster) Do they ever? I would settle for 95 per cent, and we would be quite lucky with that.
  (Mr Dolan) No, they do not ever tell us the truth.
  (Mr Moohan) I think until we turn the corner and we stabilise the workforce and grow from that position, the doubts will still be there.
  (Mr Carrigan) I do not think they tell the full story but then we would not expect them to tell us the full story all the time.
  (Mr Dolan) Just some of the time would help!
  (Mr Scullion) It is up to us to try and get as much of the truth as we possibly can, and we will try and do that on 31 May.
  (Mr Torrence) Nothing to add.

  Chairman: Gentlemen, thank you most sincerely for coming, the evidence you have given us will be very helpful to us in this inquiry, and as we continue the inquiry it will be helpful in that respect as well. Once more, thank you sincerely for coming and we will give you a copy of the report as soon as we have it. Thank you very much indeed.

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