SCRAPPING plans to build five new warships would be "devastating" news for Rosyth.

That's the fear of the Prospect union amid speculation that a multi-billion order to build type 32 frigates at the yard will be cancelled.

There are unconfirmed reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is preparing to drop or cut the contract in the upcoming defence review.

Richard Hardy, Prospect's Scottish national secretary, said: “The withdrawal of this funding would be devastating to Rosyth and to UK shipbuilding as a whole.

"The work for these frigates is a key part of the pipeline for Rosyth and if you take it away then you put the future of the shipyard at risk.

“This Government has already sold out UK shipbuilding by giving the bulk of the work for the fleet solid support ships to Spain.

"If they do withdraw this funding, it will demonstrate that they care not one jot for the industry or for the UK’s sovereign defence capability.”

Work is already under way in Rosyth on a £1.25 billion contract to supply five type 31 frigates for the Royal Navy.

Babcock spent £31.5 million on a new indoor assembly hall, opened in December 2021, which allows them to build two ships at the same time.

Once work on the type 31 frigates was finished – all five should be delivered by the end of 2028 – the hall was to be used to start building the new type 32 frigates, with 1,200 workers on the job.

The order was announced by then PM Boris Johnson in November 2020 as part of plans to assemble a new generation of warships.

However, that's now in doubt amid concerns about the cost and UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt's need to cut spending and balance the nation's books.

A report from the National Audit Office in November 2022 stated that navy command already had concerns about "unaffordability" and added: "The revised costing profile is likely to be significantly higher."

Asked about the report in parliament, Alex Chalk, minister of state at the Ministry of Defence, had said: “The type 32 frigate programme remains a key part of the future fleet and is currently in the concept phase.

"Work continues to ensure the programme is affordable in order to deliver the ships the Navy and Marines need.”

Asked on Monday for a response, neither the UK Government nor the MoD had replied by the time we went to print yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

The Scottish Government and Babcock declined to comment.