SNP’s defence sums don’t add up, says MSP

MSP Jackie Baillie is calling for answers from the Scottish Government, saying a new defence study found the SNP’s policies don’t add up.

A 62-page report published by The Scottish Institute has criticised the SNP’s plans to mirror the defence system, of an independent Scotland, on countries such as Norway and Denmark, saying the figures don’t tally.

Damning: the Scottish Institute report
Damning: the Scottish Institute report

The report notes: “The Danish and Norwegian air forces are at levels totally unsustainable for Scotland…Experts at the Royal United Services Institute have estimated that an Independent Scotland is likely to have an equipment budget between £272-£336m per annum, ‘roughly speaking the cost of one submarine’.”

The study also looked at the removal of Trident nuclear missiles from HM Naval Base Clyde if Scotland separates from the United Kingdom, estimating that the process could take up to 20 years to complete.

The report states: “While the [SNP] is adamant that Trident needs to go it has failed to articulate how it will make good the economic downsizing that will result…That process is much less straightforward than the SNP’s public declarations suggest.”

The Institute also found that the SNP’s plans to transform Faslane into a conventional naval base “would only compensate in part for the withdrawal of the Royal Navy and the defence contracts it provides to local industry and surrounding communities.”

Ms Baillie, whose Dumbarton constituency includes Faslane and Coulport, said:

“This report proves that the SNP’s plans don’t stack up.

“There are 11,000 jobs dependent on Faslane naval base that will go if Scotland separates from the rest of the United Kingdom. This would devastate the local economy.

“Even now the SNP won’t tell us how many submarines and defence ships we would have if Scotland was to become independent. They are even unclear about where a Scottish navy would be based.

“The SNP are going round in circles. They simply assert that everything will be okay if you vote for separation but the truth, as this latest report points out, is that this would throw 11,000 hard working families on the dole. They have no concrete plans to mitigate the devastating impact that their policies will have on the economy of our area.

“We really are better and stronger being part of the United Kingdom.”

The full report is here: Defence Report – Scot Inst