It has been widely reported that the UK government has signalled that it has not drawn up contingency plans to move Trident out of Scotland in the event of a Yes vote in a second independence referendum.
Philip Dunne, the then minister in charge of defence procurement, has said the UK government remains “fully committed” to Faslane, the base on the Clyde where the Vanguard class submarines are based.
Reports state that Mr Dunne also said that ministers were:
“committed to Faslane and to investing hundreds of millions of pounds in Faslane to allow it to continue to operate safely our deterrent for the foreseeable future.”
Last year, over £500 million of funding for HM Naval Base Clyde was announced. 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 last year, 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.”