Chancellor George Osborne has announced over £500 million of funding for HM Naval Base Clyde. Upgrade work due to begin in 2017, will secure 6,700 jobs and pave the way for expansion to about 8,200. The investment will be spent on ship lifts, sea walls, jetties and other major projects.
HMNB Clyde is the biggest single-site employer in Scotland. Direct employment alone is around 6,700, with many more thousands dependent on the base for jobs through the supply chain, around 11,000 both directly and indirectly. The annual spend in the local area is more than £270 million per year.
The investment is another step towards Clyde becoming the Royal Navy’s Submarine Centre of Specialisation, according to the Ministry of Defence, the long term intention is for Faslane to be home to all of the UK’s submarines with all of the nuclear armed and most of the conventionally armed fleet now based there.
Commodore Mark Adams, Naval Base Commander Clyde, said:
“Several years of hard work have already gone into preparing HMNB Clyde to be the home of the UK Submarine Service. The base regularly successfully hosts Trafalgar Class submarines for both routine visits and to undertake periods of extended maintenance and we are delighted to welcome HMS Talent and HMS Triumph on their move from Devonport. HMNB Clyde and the surrounding Argyll and Bute communities are renowned for their hospitality so the crews and their families can be assured of a warm welcome.”
Also stationed at Faslane are the Sandown class minehunters of the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron and the armed patrol vessels HMS Tracker and HMS Raider where they make up the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron, providing maritime force protection for high value shipping in the Firth of Clyde. HMS Pursuer is also stationed at the base, but is a University Royal Naval Unit craft.
Speaking at Faslane, George Osborne said:
“This is a huge investment in jobs, it will secure the 6,700 jobs already here and actually increase the number of jobs to around 8,000 – a massive boost for Scotland and the UK’s defence.”
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“Our commitment to Faslane becoming home to all Royal Navy submarines from 2020 will bring thousands of jobs and investment to the West of Scotland.”
According to the Ministry of Defence, this investment in defence will also support the UK’s defence and security exports industry. In 2014, UK defence and security exports totalled nearly £12 billion, making the UK the second largest exporter of defence and equipment services after the USA.
Recent examples of UK export success include Rolls Royce engines for the French A330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft, MBDA’s advanced short range air to air missiles to India, and Thales ForceShield integrated air defence system plus Starstreak missiles to Indonesia.