A deal to build the next generation of Royal Navy warships will not be signed off until it offers value for money, according to the defence secretary.
Michael Fallon told MPs the project to build eight Type 26 frigates on the Clyde has been delayed due to the Ministry of Defence’s attempts to save cash.
Manufacturing of the Type 26s was initially expected to start in 2016, although confirmation of when the work will begin has yet to be announced.
Speaking in the Commons, SNP MP Douglas Chapman, who represents Dunfermline and West Fife, said: “The Type 26 frigates are well behind schedule.
“It’s been said the navy had ‘run out of money’ to progress these contracts.
“Given the perilous state of the economy as of last Friday morning, can you give us assurances that we can please, please, please run out of money for Trident as well?”
Mr Fallon replied: “Let me just say to you that the schedule for Type 26 has not yet been set.
“These are ships likely to cost between half a billion and one billion pounds each and I am not going to sign a contract for these ships until I am satisfied that they represent good value for our navy and good value for the taxpayer.”
Glasgow South West SNP MP Chris Stephens asked defence under secretary Philip Dunne: “Can you confirm press reports today of leaked correspondence showing that the MoD is looking for savings of £500m in the Type 26 programme, refusing an offer from BAE systems of savings of £270m and starting that programme on time?”
Mr Dunne replied: “As I’ve already said in answer to other questions on the Type 26 programme, we will enter into a contract once we have established best value for the taxpayer and a delivery schedule that can be met by the contractor.”