Select Committee on Work and Pensions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40 - 47)

MONDAY 20 MAY 2002


  40. You know that, I know that, but how many people in the schools in the Glasgow area know that?
  (Dr Crawford) I think there are two issues here. It may be a problem for the shipbuilding industry but it is a problem for manufacturing as a whole in this country. Manufacturing as a whole has an undeserved reputation. The great advances we have seen in technology which Ron refers to are across vast tranches of the manufacturing industry. So there may be a particular challenge but it is not unique. What we need to do as a country, for example in organisations like Careers Scotland which have a fundamentally important role to play in this, is allow young people to understand the great challenges and opportunities for the use of technology which is available in key manufacturing industries, and certainly shipbuilding falls firmly into that category.

  41. Do you think then the companies have to go out to the schools and sell themselves?
  (Dr Crawford) I cannot comment specifically on BAE, perhaps Ron or Steve can, but unquestionably the answer to that is yes. Manufacturing does need to regain the calibre and reputation in this country which it has in other parts of the world.

Mr Joyce

  42. I just wondered about the age distribution. There has been some surprise expressed about 20 per cent of the workforce being over 56, but do you have any comparable figures of age distribution for other industries? It sounds to me like there may be good reasons for that, or there might be bad reasons for it. Any comment?
  (Dr Crawford) Manufacturing typically is higher than services. International tradeable services, banking and so on, have a lower age profile. That is an outcome of the history of shipbuilding, the history of manufacturing, but even within manufacturing that is at the top end. It perhaps should not be surprising when you consider that shipbuilding has been around a long time. My family worked in the shipyards.

  43. Does it mean that their health is quite good?
  (Dr Crawford) Physical health?

  44. Yes.
  (Dr Crawford) I cannot comment on that.

  45. You do not know why that would be?
  (Dr Crawford) I am 50, unfortunately, and I was at the tail end of the apprenticeship programmes which were widespread on the Clyde in those days. I suspect it is simply an outcome of the demographics, that they became apprentices in the 1960s and they have stayed on in the industry through its many cut backs and good for them. On their physical health, I have no idea.
  (Mr Inch) The Glasgow economy is in its healthiest state for some time and there is now active competition for young people. What we are seeing here is that the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors are coming together to get their act together and have a higher profile in terms of recruitment, and I think there is a need for manufacturing to go and sell manufacturing as a good career option with career development built into it. Manufacturing has perhaps been a bit slow off the mark, and other sectors are getting ahead of them in the queue.

Mr Lyons

  46. Mr Culley, I welcome what you have said today, but Glasgow City Council have said in the short and medium term they are upbeat about the prospects for shipbuilding, what is your view over the 10 year period? What assessment do you make of the next 10 year period?
  (Mr Culley) I share their optimism. I think we are dealing in facts and the fact of the matter is that we have a contract signed currently for two ALSLs and six Type 45 warships, and a further six Type 45 warships are under negotiation, and in advance of that we have the prospect of two aircraft carriers being commissioned by the MoD. The aircraft carriers themselves are of such a vast scale that the two carriers alone will cost £2.9 billion, and overall, when you include maintenance costs and so forth in, that amounts to £6 billion with a life expectancy of 30 years for maintenance and fit and so forth. As a consequence of that, do I share the view of my friends and colleagues in the City of Glasgow there is a secure future? Absolutely. I recognise, however, it is pretty much predicated on naval and on the ability to win export orders, but the future is now more positive than it has been for many, many years. We stand on the brink of a bright new future for the Clyde, a more stable future, and once you have that stability other things become possible, other investments become possible. But the role of the Task Force is to monitor the investment profiles as we have mentioned on a number of occasions now, because if BAE SYSTEMS depart from that—and we have no reason to believe they will but if they were to do that—clearly that will flag up a different attitude in my assessment.


  47. Gentlemen, before we finish, is there anything you would like to add to the evidence you have given us today? No. On behalf of the Committee, I thank you most sincerely for coming today and giving your evidence which will be extremely useful to us when we come to compiling our report. Thank you very much indeed.
  (Mr Culley) Thank you very much indeed.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 15 July 2002