The recent news of job losses throughout the UK by BAE is wholly due to the endemic financial and management incompetence of successive UK governments. It has nothing to do with the forthcoming referendum. Nor does it have anything to do with the prospect of Scottish independence. BAE has a serious gap in their order book. As their main, almost sole customer is the UK government, it is up to the UK government to fix. But of course they cannot fix this. The UK government does not have the money to plug this gap. The reason is the serial incompetence of two UK government departments – the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence. In both cases this incompetence goes back decades and Labour must take its share of the blame.
The Treasury of course was the department that was supposed to manage the economy and in particular the financial sector. A responsibility which they spectacularly failed to exercise, leaving us all exposed by the 2007/08 crisis. This failure of course took place under the last Labour government. This crisis has led to the financial difficulties of the government, which finds itself badly short of funds. Unfortunately the Tory/LibDem coalition has managed to make a bad situation even worse. Their misguided policy of cut and slash has simply reduced the government coffers even further.
The UK Ministry of Defence has an almost unrivalled reputation for incompetence on a grand scale. They seem unable to plan, manage and contain costs. A history of failure which in this case goes back to the last Labour government. It was Labour who commissioned the aircraft carriers which we will have to mothball once built. We do not apparently have the planes for them. The cost for this disaster has risen from 3.7 Billion pounds to over 6 Billion pounds. Yes over 6 Billion pounds. No wonder the UK government has no money available for an emergency. Once this aircraft is finally built, there is an order gap before the UK government commissions the first of a new series of surface ships for the navy. It is this gap in the order book which has caused the current crisis. In normal circumstances the government would be able to bring forward the building of these new ships. But it cannot now, due to the past and current wasteful management by the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence.
This crisis is truly a Union dividend – a rather nasty one. It is sad that it will be workers and their families across the UK who will have to pay the price for this systemic incompetence. It is also worth remembering that the origins of this crisis goes back to when Labour where last in power. There is nothing to suggest that a future Labour government at Westminster would be any better.