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Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has visited Scotland today to confirm £1.7 billion of funding for military bases.

Michael Fallon and the Defence Board are being hosted by 3rd Battalion The Rifles, currently a Light Mechanised Infantry battalion based in Edinburgh and the 51st Infantry Brigade in Edinburgh today.

The Defence Secretary said that the UK governments commitment to Scotland has been “underlined by £1.7bn investment in better Armed Forces infrastructure.”

He added:

“Scotland is on the frontline of defending the United Kingdom from growing threats at sea, in the air and on land.

Our commitment to the future of defence in Scotland is underlined by increasing investment in better infrastructure for the Armed Forces, helping to keep us safe.”

This follows an announcement in November that eight military sites in Scotland will close in the next 15 years, cutting the defence estate by 20%. At the time, Fallon told the House of Commons:

“First we will transform an estate built for previous generations of war fighting to one that better supports the needs of our armed forces.

It will help deliver Joint Force 2025 by bringing people and capabilities into new centres of specialism clustering units closer to their training estate. Today based upon the advice of Chiefs of Staff I am announcing the release of a further 56 bases by 2040.”

Some of these are in Edinburgh and local area.

At the time, Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney said:

“Today’s announcement is a huge blow for the country. Our defence footprint has been worn away through successive cuts, so it is unacceptable that the UK Government has announced a near 20% reduction to our defence footprint. 

This comes just three years after the last Army Basing Plan, billed as offering stability and certainty.”

Leuchars Station, formerly an RAF airfield, is be expanded to become ‘the main hub for Army activity in Scotland’.

According to the Ministry of Defence, Scotland currently has 14,000 military regular and reserve personnel and 3,930 MoD civilian staff. There are also over 11,000 industry jobs supported by various shipbuilding efforts in Scotland.

The £1.7bn includes £1.3bn for upgrades at Faslane and £400 million for a new runway and related facilities at RAF Lossiemouth which will host the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft fleet and an additional typhoon squadron.

Faslane itself is the second biggest single-site employer in Scotland, after the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow which employs around 11,000 staff.

Direct employment at the base is currently around 6,500 with many more thousands dependent on the base for jobs through the supply chain. It is understood that around 11,000 are directly and indirectly reliant on the base.

All 11 Royal Navy submarines will be based on the Clyde at Faslane from 2020, seeing the number of people directly employed at the base rising to 8,200.

The visit however has been criticised by the Scottish National Party. MSP Gordon MacDonald said:

“Only months after Michael Fallon announced drastic cuts of £140m to defence in Scotland” the Defence Secretary was treating military bases facing closure like a visitor centre.”

In November 2015, then Prime Minister David Cameron announced to the UK parliament that the RAF would be purchasing nine new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. The aircraft and 400 extra personnel are to be based at Lossiemouth and at least three aircraft would be operational by April 2020.

At the Farnborough Air Show in July 2016 the Ministry of Defence and Boeing confirmed the a deal had been agreed and that they intend to work together to build a new £100m P-8A operational support and training base at Lossiemouth, creating more than 100 new jobs.

Additionally, Michael Fallon announced at the Scottish Conservative Conference in March 2016 that Lossiemouth was a preferred option to accommodate an additional Typhoon squadron and 400 personnel.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Please enlighten me as to the vast training areas located at Leuchars? Most of the army’s training areas are in the pentlandite, nowhere near the former RAF station. If he is hinting at Barry Ranges then that is and never will be a vast area to train in.

  2. If the SNP arent happy with these arrangements then there is nothing stopping their government from providing additional financial support.

    After all they do benefit from the Barnet Formula like nowhere else in the UK.

    They will never be happy and to be honest – its all a little too predictable and very, very boring

  3. Time to say ‘enough of this’ and start removing all we base in Scotland and giving communities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the benefits so derided by the ungrateful Scots. After all it will be practice for when the go Independent and won’t have a military. Oh sorry: Three RPVs, 5 Typhoons and a dozen Challengers and no money to use them

    When a child keeps asking for more and you keep giving it more you eventually make it feel entitled to more. And when you say ‘no’ it stamps its feet and screams until you give in. That is what devolution has done. It has created the ‘spoilt child’ of the UK. Aka Scotland.

  4. Same old, same old. nothing new from the SNP. they have nothing to offer the UK but more importantly the Scottish people than the same old tired rhetoric of hatred of the English, lies and the potential to destroy Scotland’s future.
    Scotland proportionally is not having any real reduction in defence expenditure. The MOD is simply conducting a UK wide rationalisation of the MOD estate- freeing up much needed land in the process for housing and commercial development.
    Please Scotland wake up to the danger and lies of the SNP and realise we are all better together as a United Kingdom. The English, Welsh and Northern Irish peoples consider you as friends and neighbours- about time you reciprocated and stopped complaining about everything (well at least the SNP voters need to stop doing this)

    • I suspect actually we are better off divided, well we are if you live south of the border.

      Per capita and per GDP they get more of the UK public money spending than the rest of the UK. Something the SNP seems to forget. Meaning a independent Scotland would need to raise taxes to keep on an equal footing.

      Frankly, if the SNP don’t shut up with this rubbish, the rest of the UK will vote for them out and with it they can take the debt from RBS, along with the now massively reduced oil wealth caused by oversupply. At which point, of course all the UK defence spending will move south, along with the contracts to build all the ships etc that the SNP seem to think will remain.

      Don’t get me wrong, i am pro the UK and us being better off together, but frankly i am getting bored with this rubbish. Part of being part of the union is doing what is best for the whole and if it is better to spend the money elsewhere, then let’s do it. Currently it seems its more of a question of we just can’t afford the expenditure we hoped for, partially because of the £50b we have invested in the Scottish bank, RBS.

      Yes its the job of every PM to get the best for their contingents, but that shouldn’t involve trying to bribe the rest of the UK constantly with the independent vote.

  5. Looking at previous replies. Make mines a yes vote. Take your tiffs and boats back. Put the boats in Guzz and put the battalions wherever south of HAdrians wall you desire.
    If you the rest of the home NATO s fund us so deeply you are only gaining a bigger pot of cash. So don’t hang on to this wee country just let us go, you will survive. Oh so will we btw.

  6. Let me guess? Another referendum possible and defence bribes appear. Where are the new barracks they promised last time? Where are all the troops supposed to garrison Leuchars? Where is the battalion from Edinburgh that was supposed to stay?

    Fool me once…..

  7. I remember, en-route to the USA, drinking champagne with a friend at about 10:00am in Heathrow departures to toast the announcement that morning that the referendum result was for Scotland to remain a part of the UK. I was so happy and relieved by the result. I’ve never thought of myself as English, only British, and the thought of Scotland leaving was deeply upsetting to me. I’m now beginning to think that enough is enough, this whining and moaning can’t go on for ever. Maybe we should just make a clean break of it.

  8. To friends above-the SNP are not Scotland. The majority of Scots still favour the Union. Many who voted for the SNP did so because of the collapse of the Labour Party North of the border and because it was felt that the SNP would provide a better voice for Scotland in the UK. The SNP are masters at stirring it up between Scotland and the rest of the UK-this is the main plank in all their policies. There agenda in so doing is obvious-make people in the rest of the UK so fed up with their constant whingeing that a backlash occurs that targets ALL Scots-not just the Nats and the resulting bad feeling adds recruits for the breakup of the UK BOTH sides of the border.
    The UK has many friends and supporters in Scotland-let us not take the SNP’s so transparent bait!

  9. It is down to the press. They should stop publishing every piece of rubbish that sprouts forth ao liberally from Nicola Sturgeons mouth. Every time she says anything there should be the standard reply.
    1)Barnett formulary uk subsidising Scotland as the spoilt child massively, free social care, free prescriptions, free university, better public infrastructure etc etc etc
    2)more Scots voted to remain part of uk then within the EU.
    3) gdp to debt ratio over 10% in Scotland currently <4% for rest of uk.
    I suspect SNP will rue the day and face a huge backlash if Scotland did vote for independence. Rather rapidly you would be looking at a country with huge debts, they can take RBS back as a debt (£60 billion) they can pay for relocation of national strategic deterrent system and all its infrastructure (£200 billion).
    We will keep Barnet formulary money and thus per annum Scotland worse off by £30-45 billion.
    I am sure English and Welsh defence industry sites would love Scotland to be daft enough to vote for independence. We might actually get some of the big contracts like future frigates, destroyers built south of the border.
    I hope and think though that Teresa May has the measure of Sturgeon and all the hot wind originating from the SNP.

  10. Sadly the comments are about the SNP and Scotland again, including RBS whose City of London base indulged in casino banking, and a comment from Mr Bell with the same figures which were soundly rebutted by the official accounts of the Scottish Government for 2015-16 called GERS.

    On Independence which amounts to Scotland and the rUK becoming separate states, each takes an agreed share of debt, physical assets like buildings and land remain in the country, movable assets are split according to negotiations, so if Scotland declines a share of the nuclear assets, the rUK would be completely entitled to take its floating dock, store of missiles and warheads, and the Vanguard boats, but leave the buildings and of course land. Any other arrangement would be by negotiation only, such as 10 years at Faslane in exchange for the T26 built on the Clyde probably plus an annual payment from the rUK to Scotland. The alternative is that the rUK moves all its movable assets out by the midnight on the day of Independence. That’s basically the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of State Property, Archives and Debts.

    Anyway, I have some sympathy with geoff, but would extend that to voters on both sides, whether for Independence or staying in the Union. It’s only the politicians and activists like me should be subject to abuse, not the ordinary voters.

    Back to the topic of the article, I’d say some of that infrastructure spend in Scotland would be relatively new and appropriate even if the defence estate had been well maintained in the past. Not so it seems for much of the MOD estate according to the National Audit Office:

    “The MoD has developed a strategy that identifies the estate it needs and the 25% of its estate it can dispose of by 2040. However, the strategy and current funding levels allow only for a partial reversal of the decline in the condition of the remaining estate. There is a significant risk that the poor condition of the estate will affect the Department’s ability to provide the defence capability needed.”

    I’ve read some of the detail, and it is quite alarming and indeed a disgrace. I’m a defender of the MOD when it comes to the building of new warships, I understand analysis and design in a high-tech environment, and indeed demanding customers. But to neglect basic items like service family accomodation and even power supply is appalling.

  11. Dadsarmy.
    as an Englishman i would be all for that. If Scotland voted to leave rest of uk and have its independence. Give us 3-5 years as a transitionary time so we can remove everything that the uk taxpayer has paid for leaving a proportion behind say 10% which is the ratio of Scots to rest of uk population. Share national debt so 10% to Scotland = £+100billion.
    just madness!
    I was not aware my statistics had been rebuffed. Only in your dreams. I know who i believe office of national statistics or the Scottish parliament controlled by the SNP. There is one way to solve this push for a second referendum against the overwhelming wishes of the rest of the uk, vote for independence then see how you get on.

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