Minister Guto Bebb made his first visit to Scotland where he praised Scotland’s contribution to UK defence and outlined what defence is doing in Scotland.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence Guto Bebb said:

“Scotland plays as vital role at the heart of UK Defence and national security. Right now, Scots-based sailors, soldiers and air personnel are delivering Continuous at Sea Deterrence, building the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces, working on behalf of the United Nations and countering Daesh across the Middle East.”

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said:

“These are exciting and important times for the Armed Forces in Scotland. All three services in Scotland are growing their numbers, including building a single home for the UK submarine fleet on the Clyde, growth to 2 SCOTS and 3 SCOTS infantry battalions, increasing the RAF’s Typhoon force, and the build-up to the arrival of nine new maritime patrol aircraft, at RAF Lossiemouth.”

Scotland is home to more than 10,000 regular and 4,000 reserve armed forces personnel, supported by almost 4,000 MOD civilians.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence today, Scottish industry benefits from Defence spending £1.5bn with it each year. This investment supports 9,750 private sector and highly skilled jobs in Scotland.

“The MoD previously announced an unprecedented 20 years of work for the Clyde shipyards in 2017, safeguarding over 4,000 Scottish jobs, with the £3.7bn contract for the first three of eight submarine hunting Type 26 frigates to be built there.

Through the UK National Shipbuilding Strategy, Scottish yards on the Clyde and at Rosyth are also able to compete for the five lighter Type 31e frigates which will come into service from 2023.”

A further £1.7 billion is being invested to upgrade Scottish military bases over the next decade.


  1. I still can’t believe that for the cost of these things a hanger is not included.

    IF the Labour government had signed up to some minimum order agreement with BAE before they where booted out of office which meant BAE had to recieve £350mm worth of orders, I don’t see how the UK could not have increased the specs on each ship for the same price. That way they could have been used in the Carribean and Horn of Africa, as it stands they are only useful for UK waters which is a complete waste of money.

    • The crane is a better option than a hanger for offloading containers and awkward loads like a Lamd Rover in disaster relief situations. The R2 can support helicopter operations; loading, unloading with RM, refuelling, re-arming ( R2 has an armoured magazine). It has the Kelvin Hughes I band radar for helicopter control and a deck officer landing position: just not helicopter maintenance. Away from the UK for that it relies on a RFA asset.

    • without a gun i wouldn’t let them patrol pompey harbour as for the horn of africa, i’d say fit a squadron of archers with the 20mm gun they were designed to carry, drill them as a squadron, and make use of boats that are navy, not university’ fanny’ boats for the hooray henry’s

  2. If the Ministers are going to produce sound bites, let’s have some comparative flesh on them.

    So firstly, what are the figures for England, Northern Ireland and Wales? And how much of the total £42 billion is spent outside the UK completely? And is that 2018 prices? Does the MOD have a published paper with these details on?

    Secondly, considering spending in the economy generates more spending and revenues in terms of wages and sub-contracts etc. what is the economic multiplier and total effect?

    The reason for the second is to make it possible to compare say £400 million spent in South Korea, to £600 million in the UK, to work out whether it really is cheaper to build RFAs abroad.

    • I didn’t formulate that well, so I’ll try again.

      UK budget £42 billion (round figure). Scotland population = 1/12th that of the UK. Scotland contribution £3.5 billion. But only £1.5 billion spent in Scotland. For that to be equitable, then only £18 billion of the whole defence budget would be spent in the UK as a whole.

      Is it? If that’s true it means £24 billion is spent outside the UK. Which, considering that if Canada does take the T26 they’ll be built in Canada, would mean the MOD is not getting the economic benefit of that £24 billion spend and therefore is just not very good at writing contracts. That’s up to £24 billion which should contribute more to the UK economy as we all contribute to it. THAT should be of interest to all UK defence followers.

      With an economic multiplier of say 0.6, that £24 billion would equate to £14.4 billion of benefit to the UK economy – and that’s £14.4 billion which could be spent on defence for the same nett spend. Which generates another £8.64 billion which could be spent on defence generating another £5.184 billion …

      Otherwise that impressive figure of £1.5 billion shows that Scotland does not get its “fair” share, which is a different story. That’s only of interest to (us) “Nats” 🙂

      • Umm, I think the 0.6 multipler which I saw some time ago by studying other defence budgets in other countries, IS the full recursive figure, so that would only be a total of £14.4 billion more to spend on UK defence for the same nett price. Peanuts.

    • we’re all mushrooms, the whole country that is, a shambles of an M.O.D no navy to speak of,carriers without aircraft, destroyers that break down, submarines retired before their useful dates the retired trafalgars had plenty of mileage left in them(my brother was on torbay, and says it was perfect when decommed.

  3. Sorry to be a pain, when I have a bee in my bonnet I follow through, so please don’t ban me.

    Righty, that efficient use of the £42 billion budget to create economic benefit in the UK is only one side of the balance sheet – the other is the economic benefit of being a tier 1 partner for instance in the F35. Some approx maths, 3,000 F35 15% built in the UK over say 15 years at an average unit cost of $100 million (£70 million) = £2.1 billion per year average. Perhaps with the ecomomic multiplier of 0.6 at £1.3 billion.

    I suggest Gavin Williamson in his 5 month reprieve uses this argument to stave off defence cuts, maybe even get an increase in budget! My consultancy invoice is in the post …

  4. Gavin Williamson is trigger happy with his comments. He should let the Scottish issue lie doggo. It’s obvious HM gov are working overtime to send defence jobs to Scotland and most Scots see the SNP independence option for what it is….

  5. @dadsarmy

    I am very sympathetic to your arguments that Scotland more than deserves the majority of surface warship building in the UK.

    If it were up to me, all surface warships would be built on the Clyde to justify the investment needed to create a 21st century digital, world class shipbuilding facility instead of scattering penny packets of work around the UK that will not justify any investment for the future i.e. the Type 31 program.

    However, you are doing yourself an injustice by using two invalid calculations. Firstly, government income is not distributed by head of population so to say that x% of the defence budget should be spent somewhere based on its x% of the population, is false because that x% of population didn’t pay for x% of the budget. Salaries vary by region and not all tax is personal.

    Secondly, the original statement was that 1.5billion of the defence budget that is dedicated to buying new equipment, is spent in Scotland. That part of the budget is nowhere near 42 billion per year. It’s less than 10 billion. So Scotland’s share is about 15%.

    But keep up the good fight!

    • It’s defence spending, not defence equipment spending, so I’m right! However, in the T31e thread I posted I’d looked up an MOD graphic, and it turns out the per capita spend with industry for the UK is £258, and in Scotland £250, so that’s close enough.

      And for serving personnel, regular and reserve, it’s just 1,400 under a “fair” share for Scotland, but that would be compensated for by some extra Typhoons, P8-As, Astute and some army if that ever happens.

      So basically as far as I can tell, it’s even stevens – including the shipbuilding as is.

      Which, basically, squashes both sides of the debate, and leaves the piggy in the middle!

      As far as I can see though, Ireland gets a bad deal at £50 per head, so hopefully a Babcock T31e including H&W would address that problem.

      • Sorry, you are incorrect. 1.5 billion of the equipment budget spent in Scotland.

        Far more of the defence budget is spent in Scotland if you include the pay & pensions of Scottish servicemen and women.

        Once again, you are using the per capita measure to determine Scotalnd’s share. That would only be valid if Scotland’s per capita contribution to UK wealth was the same as the other parts of the UK. It isn’t.

        • As the article says: “According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence today, Scottish industry benefits from Defence spending £1.5bn with it each year”

          The equivalent figure for the UK as a whole is £18.7 billion – Scotland’s figure is 1/12th, that would be £1.56 billion. Close enough for government work.

          Scotland’s onshore economy runs at about 99% of the UK’s economy, near enough the same contribution per capita.

          • It’s the relative tax contributions that are relevant although you could, and probably should, argue that defence spending, by its nature, benefits the whole of the UK equally regardless of the source of the money.

            Glad you’ve seen the light on the 1.5 billion not being a part of the entire defence budget but merely that spent with industry.

          • Ron5. Sure. This is a UK defence forum, not an Indy one, so the main point was about economic benefit. If that £1.5 billion out of £3-£3.5 billion contriution was the full amount, and England. Wales and NI had been similar proportions, for a total of £18 billion actually spent in the UK, then it would seem to have been poor spending, b ut we need the full figures including the actual defence forces.

            In that respect I was arguing as part of the UK, NOT as an Indy supporter. There are some who’d like to see Scotland cut off at the knees, and in that respect I’m arguing for the whole of Scotland WITHIN the Union, not out of it. If we’re in the Union we need to be treated fairly, whether it’s the SNP in power in Scotland, or Labour or the Conservatives in the UK. They’re just political parties, like UKIP.

            For a quick Indy argument though, with 8.4% of the population, over the last 18 years, Scotland has provided over 8.8% of the revenues of the UK – that’s calculated from the HMRC itself, table 1, page 12, where you can see that in all bar 4 years, Scotland contributed more than its population share. Not something the media want to tell you:


            But hey, we’re all part of the Union 🙂

      • Same error. Per capita is only interesting if all “per capita’s” were the same in their contribution to UK’s defence budget. However, they are not.

        • Actually, taking your argument to its logical conclusion the City of London generates 3% of the UK GDP, so they should build a couple of frigates in its square mile.

          • No, that’s your argument, not mine.

            I say build the ships where there’s an economically large enough base to justify increased investment i.e. the Clyde. So 100% to Scotland and 0% to London.

            You are the one saying build them according to distribution of population. I notion that is neither logical or efficient.

          • In other words, I fully support you in arguing warships should be built in Scotland. I just don’t like your rationale.

            And I don’t think either of us like the Type 31 program and the daft Shipbuilding Strategy that spawned it.

            It’s like Osborne told Parker to come up with an approach to build ships anywhere else but with Bae on the Clyde. Nothing to do with the health and well being of the Navy or the UK economy. Just petty nationalism and anti-Bae feelings.

          • Ron5. I think the where of spending has importance though, because of such as recruitment and support amongst the people. If for instance not one penny was spent in Scotland or the North-East of England, there could be less recruitment even without any resentment of that fact. As it is you only have to drive around Scotland and England to see defence establishments all over the place. I’m not saying where …

            Apart from that I agree, I’m very agreeable, honest! As for BAE I held my judgement, but for me they didn’t invest when they had the chance and a guaranteed 15 years worth of minimum payments to them. They should have built that £200 million frigate factory anyway, even with the T26 delays.

          • Hard to say what Bae should have done without seeing their books but I don’t think many of us would have spent 200 million on a facility to build three ships. And that’s all the T26 orders they have right now, just 3 ships to be built at a funereal pace.

            Two things worth remembering: by MoD rule, single source contracts, like the T26, have paper thin profit margins that can be eaten up in no time if an unsuspecting snag emerges. The UK is not like the USA, no company can get rich on MoD profit margins.

            Secondly, Bae offered to shave half a billion off the T26 contract if the MoD gave them a contract to build all 8. The Treasury refused. Doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence all 8 will be built does it?

            And don’t forget the Treasury said that bids to build the remaining T26’s in part or in full, will be accepted from whoever wins the T31 work.

            The UK government is most decidedly anti-Bae and anti-Cylde. Difficult to blame Bae for not investing in that climate.

          • You’re right, thanks for correcting me, I am being unfair on BAE. Ian King previous CEO was quite fair during the Independence Referendum, and it was clear that BAE were promised 13 T26 which is now just 8 max, the other 5 T26 GPFFs becoming T31e and open for tender. Yes, BAE are being messed around. As is the Clyde.

            The problem is though, never mind BAE and never mind the Clyde, what about the T26? I’m increasingly thinking it’ll be just 6, 3 only would be madness. The remaining 2 to become the way cheaper T31e.

            One problem is the planned 1 a year from 2023 decommisioning of the T23, but with 3 T26 coming in by then and T31e on the way, I guess the RN could manage. Barely 🙁

    • how come the navy of japan is now bigger than the navies of the u.k and france combined? the answer? ambition, a clear plan and a knowledge of how to get the best value for their investments, in short, everything we don’t have.


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