Investment in Faslane is set to bring ‘jobs, transport, leisure and business growth opportunities’ to Scotland with an agreement signed between the UK Government, Royal Navy and local councils.
According to a Ministry of Defence press release, the Memorandum of Understanding signed will ‘see the signatories work together in delivering infrastructure and opportunities for Royal Navy families and local people to live, work and prosper together’.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also visited Scotland this week to confirm £1.7 billion of funding for military bases. 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.
Through its redevelopment. HMNB Clyde will grow its staff numbers from 6,800 today to an eventual population of 8,200.
The construction phases are expected to support a further 1,000 contractor jobs.
Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said:
“The UK’s entire submarine fleet will be based at Faslane by 2020. This will reinforce Scotland’s vital role in protecting our country, and guarantee skilled, secure jobs on the Clyde for years to come.
We must ensure this investment in the base is also a catalyst for growth and regeneration in the wider community. Today’s agreement will deliver new housing and improved infrastructure, ensuring people in Argyll and Bute benefit directly from hosting the base.”
Faslane 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.
Scotlands ‘share’ of Trident is around £163 million a year however the annual spend generated by the base in the local area and the wider region is estimated to be more than £270 million per year.
Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel Mark Lancaster, said:
“This agreement ensures the investment we are making to upgrade HMNB Clyde, as part of the £1.7bn we are spending to improve military bases in Scotland, will not only help provide our people and their families with more stability and a better environment to work in, but will also help transform the local area, providing skilled jobs and better infrastructure.”
Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council and Chair of the Argyll and Bute Community Planning Partnership, said:
“This agreement is about making the development of HMNB Clyde work for Navy personnel, their families and the communities in Argyll they will be joining. It’s about delivering opportunities for new residents and local people to build happy, prosperous lives together.
Helensburgh and its surrounding areas offer great benefits as a place to live, work and visit, and we very much look forward to welcoming new Navy friends and neighbours.”
Naval Base Commander, Commodore Mark Gayfer, said:
“The Royal Navy is keen to ensure that the local community better understands what it brings to Argyll and Bute.
There are tremendous opportunities for mutual benefit, such as our redevelopment of the Drumfork Club in Helensburgh, building new sports facilities and the UK Government £5m of support for the Council’s waterfront redevelopment.”
In addition to the nuclear submarines, the base is home to 10 conventional surface vessels of the Sandown class mine countermeasure and Archer class patrol vessel fleets.