Scotland is experiencing a “new era of confidence and investment in the defence sector”.

“Record UK Government spending on defence has led to major MOD investment in Scotland, primarily at HMNB Clyde and RAF Lossiemouth.”

The Scottish Affairs Committee has published a new report with recommendations to the UK government. The UK Government has two months to respond.

“Clyde is in the midst of a £1.6 billion infrastructure project—which will see its personnel grow from 7,000 to 8,200—and has become home to the UK’s entire submarine service. Lossiemouth—which in 2011 was at threat of closure—has now become a ‘superbase’, receiving £470m in infrastructure investment. It is one of two RAF Quick Reaction Alert stations protecting UK airspace and has become home to four Typhoon squadrons, two Poseidon squadrons and, in 2023, will welcome the new E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. Scotland’s contribution is vital to the defence of the UK and pivotal to the UK’s contribution to NATO.

The defence landscape in Scotland is not limited to the MOD’s activities; there is also significant defence activity in the private sector amongst both prime contractors and SMEs who are able to benefit from increases in MOD investment. MOD spending with Scottish industry was close to £2 billion in 2020/21, which was almost 10% of the MOD’s total spending with industry that year; higher than Scotland’s 8% population share of the UK. We heard that the UK’s status on the world stage is very dependent on the defence industry facilities it has in Scotland. That said, defence SMEs in Scotland are currently losing out. The MOD admits that Scotland accounts for a small proportion of the MOD’s spending with SMEs. Only 2.5% of the MOD’s total spending with UK SMEs in 2020/21 was spent in Scotland, far lower than Scotland’s population share of the UK. We heard that culture change was needed in the MOD, and in its prime contractors, to address perceptions of engrained hesitancy towards working with Scottish SMEs.”

Defence in Scotland ‘positive story’ say Committee

The report also adds that the MOD has embarked on a great rationalisation of its bases across the UK, including in Scotland.

“It says it is working hard to deliver a fit for purpose, affordable and smaller defence estate, with the goal of a 30% reduction by 2040. MOD Caledonia, Forthside Barracks and Meadowforth Barracks are scheduled for closure in Scotland this year, followed by Redford Cavalry and Infantry Barracks in 2029 and Fort George in 2032 (although some bases may be retained in part). We heard that the impacts of base closures depend on where they are. In prosperous areas bases can become much-needed sites for housing or businesses but, in less affluent areas, the consequences can be damaging and long-lasting, exacerbating falling and ageing population challenges facing much of rural Scotland. The MOD should intensify its collaboration efforts with all Scottish local authorities facing base closures and base expansions, and engage with them at earlier stages in those processes, for example by jointly producing and acting on impact assessments.”

Collaboration between the UK and Scottish governments on defence matters is viewed very differently between governments, however.

“While the UK Government says it is committed to working closely and positively with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Government says that, although MOD basing decisions often have consequences for devolved areas of policy, the UK Government is failing to maximise opportunities through robust intergovernmental dialogue that would bring benefits to both governments. The MOD admits that collaboration on defence matters has suffered disruption due to the pandemic, but is keen to do better. For the benefit of military communities who rely on locally-provided services, and communities nearby to MOD bases who share the same local services, it is important that collaboration improves.”

The report also points out that military personnel and their families can face many challenges when moving bases between England and Scotland—for example in relation to child education (due to differing education systems and learning styles), the transfer of healthcare between NHS services, differing income tax rates and spousal employment, especially the transfer of professional qualifications between UK nations.

“The importance of providing useful information to such personnel and their families—and in varying and accessible formats—is vital to a smooth transition. While improvements have been made, there is scope for the MOD to be more proactive in the information it routinely shares with Armed Forces personnel and their families when they move to bases in Scotland, and from Scotland. The UK Government should also accelerate work with relevant responsible bodies across the UK to reduce barriers that military spouses and partners face when attempting to transfer their professional qualifications between UK nations.”

You can read the report here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
1 month ago

This is great news for Scotland…unfortunately the SNP don’t do facts, figures and evidence…

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

They just use post truth fact…..

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

It’s all pretty minor stuff in the bigger scheme of things and a bunch of repackaged announcements which is about as much as this UK government can come how these days, still atleast Scotland does not have to suffer Michael Gove doing “levelling up”.

Not much in there that’s going to persuade SNP voters to switch back.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Why would NATO give a monkeys whether it’s policies have any impact on the SNP’s policies ?

Martin
Martin
29 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

No idea where you get NATO from, not a mention of NATO in the article or my comment. NATO is a multi national alliance so it does not have an opinion on anything.

David Steeper
David Steeper
29 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Scotland’s contribution is vital to the defence of the UK and pivotal to the UK’s contribution to NATO.
Not much in there that’s going to persuade SNP voters to switch back.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Good news for the United Kingdom. Many companies around the Union will benefit. I just wish this expansion had come sooner. We are perhaps fortunate in that the Supermarket Bombers are well and truly up the creek in taking on Ukraine.

Richard Graham
Richard Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

You will never be able to make some understand or accept something if they are too stubborn or unwilling to learn or notice. You can present all the facts and figures you like and try to reason with them all you want, but their mind is made up. Understanding cannot be forced on someone who chooses to be ignorant and the most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. As the old saying goes: There are none so blind as those who will not see. Or, if you like, its Biblical antecedent: “Hear now this,… Read more »

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
29 days ago
Reply to  Richard Graham

Very true indeed. I agree whole-heartedly on that. I think this has something to do with both the internet age (echo chambers), perhaps our modern education system and I’m always shocked in the UK today that compromise, understanding and seeing the best of one’s fellow man has gone out of the window. I think back to when I was 7 when the Falkland’s war had happened and that was the last time the UK was unified in pursuit of defending things like self-determination, justice and the rights of man. That showed the best of our armed services who didn’t have… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Andrew Thorne
Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

What happens if Scotland eventually becomes independent. The RN will not buy warships from foreign countries so England will have to build new infrastructure…. we should diversify around tge auK not just Scotland.

If Scotland looses the RN as a customer I cannot see them competing on the civil market. After all they were in serious decline before the RN orders.

If the SNP thinks they will be better off outside the Union they will be sadly mistaken.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

I do not understand how France, Germany and Spain appear to do well in the civilian market and Scottish yards appear to be much less successful?

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
29 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

The main reason is that France, Germany, Spain, Italy etc do not obey EU procurement rules in any way shape or form. It was one of the bug-bears of UK governments of all colours. I have colleagues in the civil service who would complain bitterly that these countries never followed EU procurement rules but always found some loophole to exploit ergo we lost manufacturing to the EU and had a negative balance of trade deficit with them – mainly because our government of all political hues would gold plate EU rules when we implemented them on our statute books rather… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Andrew Thorne
farouk
farouk
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

AT wrote: The main reason is that France, Germany, Spain, Italy etc do not obey EU procurement rules in any way shape or form It never fails to amaze me how those berate the Uk for leaving the EU (Note I am pro EU) citing how the UK has never been a fan of the Union, how it never subscribes to the laws and how bad the Uk will become never point out the wrong doing from within the EU and how so many countries whilst berating the Uk pay lip service to the rules they demand other bend the… Read more »

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Rob N
Rob N
29 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Personally I am glad we have left the EU as we no longer need to abide by other countries rules we can use our own. It would be great to see Scotland and the UK as a whole being successful in civil and military shipbuilding.

Martin
Martin
29 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

They don’t, they have massive government subsidies to keep them open in France and Spain and Germany’s commercial yards just went bankrupt and have been bought out by military yards that have government subsidies.

Rob N
Rob N
29 days ago
Reply to  Martin

That explains a lot….

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

Reducing the defense estate 30% will make even harder rapid training of recruits etc if the next decade or two are going head to head with Russia & China. Selling off 3 major airbases near me may come back to bite us hard too. Should’ve been mothballed, not scrapped.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
29 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

I would agree…I can’t stand the government’s idiom of “doing better with less”. The issue is though how do you house a poulation that has increased from 58.3 million in 1997 to around 68 million today (some estimates put this figure substantially higher). That’s nearly 10 million more people in the UK (actually more than that as in 1997 the population of the UK was projected to fall slightly over the coming decades).

Last edited 29 days ago by Andrew Thorne
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
29 days ago

With so much RAF hardware and personnel going into Lossiemouth is there any news on any GBAD of any description going in there or anywhere else in UK bases for that matter? Serious lack of something so basic IMHO. Italy seems to be deploying CAMM-ER across all its forces including on the very same MAN truck launchers. CAMM/CAMM-ER could potentially go into the same launcher and even a Iron Dome style launcher with 15/16 CAMM could be explored and might even fit into a container with potentially so can be plugged into/slotted onto a huge range of ships. Something you’d… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
29 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

*with… which

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
29 days ago

If the news today becomes a reality than the good news for Scotland will end next October. Bye bye Scotland. Goodluck. Now where did I put my trowel? I’ve got a beautiful big tall wall to rebuild from Northumberland to Carlisle. We will put a few revenue gates in the wall to charge tax on everything coming out of Scotland via England. Its going to be great to see the SNP loonies crying unfair when the revenue streams vacate the country faster than a certain Russian flagship cruiser’s sinking.

Steve M
Steve M
29 days ago

Well i expect BAE are patting themselves for not building a bigger shed in Glasgow as they will at best get to finish the 2 T-26 started, where as babcock are sick to the back teeth as their frigate complex will only get to build 2 ships, Unless wee little Krankie orders some for the new Scottish navy. We will need to build up Brunton Airfield and RAF Longtown to take the Typhoons (minus T1’s which will core of new SAF), P8’s & E7. The Astute’s can move to Devonport. The biggest hassle will be deciding where to move Dreadnaughts… Read more »

DRS
DRS
29 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Say it does happen. What will actually happen to the Scottish army/navy/airforce. Would I as a member of any of those forces want to stay in Scotland even if Scottish/pro indy ? I will suddenly have far less toys to play with, far less opportunities to grow career wise, potentially less pay (no more tax top up) etc etc. The Scottish MOD will likely wilt and die as they will not have the manpower to stay afloat. RUK will want to move out it’s bases as soon as possible and Scotland will have its MOD and related defence employment disappear.… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
29 days ago
Reply to  DRS

If the Scot’s do decide to leave the Union (hope Not) then it is their choice, I expect they will want some units of all 3 services, but that will be all down to whoever does negotiating, they’ll want best stuff we offer few T-1’s, couple of Type 23 (Montrose & Monmouth) and few Snatch LR 🙂, I thought i read last time that Krankie seem to think that they could keep GBP and have say in financial policy, then just join EU but have no borders but i guess all the clean air up on the mountains must do… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
28 days ago

Need to stop giving work to Scotland. They will get independence next year and we should not built uk military ships in a foreign country.

George Parker
George Parker
28 days ago

All the while, the poisoned treasonous SNP “dwarfess” wants independence and has the nerve to visit our Queen.
The quicker we withdraw naval shipbuilding and nuclear submarines from Scotland, the better. Perhaps holding onto the Shetland Islands as a military outpost and oil access, regardless of the mainland’s decision. I recall visiting Tingwall Lock (& airport) on numerous occasions fishing for the trout. Thinking that the valley would make an excellent location for an RAF airbase. Scalloway Voe being a potential submarine base but it would take some serious work.