DEFENCE chiefs backing controversial plans to consolidate shipbuilding on the Clyde was billed as a highlight when BAE Systems announced its trading figures for 2013.

BAE - the world's biggest defence contractor based outside America -revealed pre-tax profits of £1.9billion, up 3%, and a 2% rise in sales of £18.2bn. However, profits after tax plummeted by 82% to just £175million when the value of its US businesses were written down by £887m as a result of White House military spending restrictions.

BAE employs 3000 workers in its Glasgow shipyards, but is expected to axe Govan and build a multi-million pound frigate factory at its Scotstoun site.