The latest short paper on how an independent Scotland might arrange its defence forces by Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh suggests that Scotland might get its defence at zero net cost overall.
Crawford and Marsh operate independently of external funding and are not sponsored by any political party or commercial organisation.
The authors of the seminal A’ the Blue Bonnets: Defending an Independent Scotland (Royal United Services Institute, 2012) and Defending an Independent Scotland Post-Brexit (Scottish Centre for Economic Research, 2018) have now published a new paper looking in more detail at the costs involved (attached).
In their short paper they suggest that, if their previous costing analysis showing an annual defence budget for an independent Scotland of between £1.1 – £1.3 billion is accepted, then this could be offset by leasing of military bases in Scotland plus the associated economic benefits which accrue to their continued operation by friendly states and other organisations. In other words, independent Scotland could have its defence scot-free.
Co-author Stuart Crawford said:
“We have been working on how an independent Scotland might organise and fund its defence forces for the last 10 years or so. This latest paper builds on the work we have previously published and indicates quite clearly that Scotland could have its defence free, gratis and for nothing if the right policies and defence choices are taken. We do understand that some of our suggestions will not find support in certain quarters but would argue that purpose, not process, should be the guiding principle here.”
Richard Marsh added:
“Our previous work considered the likely costs involved defending an independent Scotland. This paper considers how economic benefits from defence activities could be leveraged to at least partly offset some of the costs involved in defending an independent Scotland.”