The Scottish Affairs Committee has today launched a new inquiry examining the military landscape in Scotland.

This will look at how the current restructuring of the UK’s defence capabilities, for example as announced in the MoD Command Paper ‘Defence in a competitive age’, could affect local communities in Scotland.

At present, over 13,000 people are employed in more than 50 Ministry of Defence installations around Scotland. However, in 2016, the Ministry of Defence announced that it would reduce the size of the defence estate by 30% by 2040 with Scottish bases in Stirling and Rosyth both facing closure in 2022, and others to follow.

The Committee is keen to explore the impact the UK’s changing defence priorities – including base closures, but also new military infrastructure investments – will have on communities in Scotland, and whether the UK Government should be offering any additional support to those affected. The Committee is also seeking views about the role military installations in Scotland have in supporting the UK’s international alliances.

The Committee is inviting written submissions by Monday 4 October. These should focus on, but not be limited to: 

  • What impacts are the UK’s changing defence priorities having on investment, employment and communities in Scotland?
  • How important are military installations in Scotland for supporting the UK’s international military alliances?
  • How well are Scottish people and places represented in the UK military?
  • How have recent military infrastructure investments affected employment and communities in Scotland?
  • How might planned military personnel reductions and estate reductions affect employment and communities in Scotland? What impacts are already occurring from planned reductions/closures?
  • Should the UK Government offer any additional support to individuals and communities affected?

Scottish Affairs Committee Chairman, Pete Wishart, said:

“Military personnel and their families in Scotland face an uncertain few years with base closures and a reduction of the defence estate. With two bases – in Stirling and in Rosyth – set to close next year, our Committee is considering what impact the MoD’s plans will have on communities in Scotland, and whether the UK Government should be offering more support to those affected.”

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
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
40 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
RobW
RobW
8 months ago

Here we go. Lets debate the topic at hand and not resort to the usual Scotland bashing please.

My view is that whenever bases are closed or repurposed the MOD / Government should have an obligation to ensure that communities continue to have job opportunities, not to just sell the land for housing. Sell to the right buyer, not just the highest bidder. That or just stop selling off bases in the first place.

Craig
Craig
8 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Phil, you’re suggesting reducing Scotland’s slice in the defence budget based on something that hasn’t happened, and may not happen in the future?
The good people of Scotland rejected independence and polls suggest that there is not the appetite for a “yes” vote.
Surely to punish Scotland in this manner would simply increase the desire for a separate Scotland- unless this is the desired outcome?

John Clark
John Clark
8 months ago
Reply to  Craig

A pint of the usual Andy…..

Andy P
Andy P
8 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yeah…. Soon as I saw the article I thought Groundhog day. 😔

RobW
RobW
8 months ago
Reply to  RobW

So we should refuse to invest in Scotland at all? That’ll help the independence debate.

If we want the UK to stay together investing in Scotland, Wales and NI is exactly what we should be doing. It needs to be balanced of course.

John Clark
John Clark
8 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Hang about, a load of comments have dropped off the digital cliff here too….

George, there’s a hole in your website mate….

Andy P
Andy P
8 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Again… seems to happen sometimes John, I emailed the ‘contact us’ bit the other day about missing posts etc. haven’t heard anything. Hopefully turn up at some point.

Karl
Karl
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Seems to get sort of hacked sometimes. Weird.

Lisa West (Comment Moderator)
Lisa West (Comment Moderator)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Hi Andy, I’ve not received any e-mails from you. Can you please try e-mailing me at [email protected] if you’d like to discuss anything relating to comments?

Dave12
Dave12
8 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

My comments get flagged all the time my guess is Russian trolls seems to happen when I mention Russian affairs ,the flag system gets abused on Ukdj.

Lisa West (Comment Moderator)
Lisa West (Comment Moderator)
8 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John, comments are moderated Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm. Any flagged comments will automatically remain as pending until they are approved. If you have any questions or queries about this, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  RobW

BUT, Isnt the MOD footprint shrinking around the entire country. MOD is not a support package for local business. eggs in one basket.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Got to say I actually have to support your post Johan, the MOD isn’t liable for the local communities, although the impact a closure could have should be taken into consideration.

Callum
Callum
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Agreed. I fully support defence expenditure being used to benefit the country through supporting local businesses, but that expenditure still needs to be generating a good outcome for defence.

maurice10
maurice10
8 months ago

Regardless of SNP ambitions, Scotland needs to be well defended regardless of some political objectives.

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
8 months ago

Shows 7 Comments, but I can only see 4.

Graeme
Graeme
8 months ago

If Scotland became independent, they’d want to charge the UK government through the nose to maintain basis for our mutual defence. We should look at establishing a base on the Orkneys and give them the opportunity to become a Crown Dependency in the event of Scottish independence. Last thing Britian needs is to be dependent on the favour of the Scottish government to cover the GIUK gap.

David
David
8 months ago
Reply to  Graeme

I’ve heard that several times about the islands… not sure the SNP are taking it seriously but imagine the ‘gael’ they would face wrt EU membership; they wouldn’t be touched with a barge pole.

Something Different
Something Different
8 months ago
Reply to  Graeme

Who so the ‘we’ you’re referring to? Is Scotland not ‘we’ as much as England as both make up the UK along with Wales and Northern Ireland?

Graeme
Graeme
8 months ago

In this hypothetical scenario we are assuming SIndy as a reality, in which case ‘we’ wouldn’t include Scotland and Scots any more, obviously.

CAM
CAM
8 months ago

I’m just waiting for it… the usual anti-Scotland comments or the comments telling us that Scotland shouldn’t have any bases because are going to ‘become independent.’ Can I please not hear it… at least for 1 article!
PS – Why don’t you say the same about other countries in the union? Scotland has actually voted No in a referendum so that should be a sign that the people of Scotland are unionists.

Last edited 8 months ago by CAM
Bob
Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  CAM

True, but they do speak for the largest group of voters.

Andy P
Andy P
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob

That would depend on how you choose to group the voters Bob. By party, yes they’re biggest. If by Leave/Remain then there are more people voting for parties who campaigned to stay part of the UK.

criss whicker
criss whicker
8 months ago
Reply to  CAM

Scotland has actually voted No in a referendum so that should be a sign that the people of Scotland are unionists.,

then that alone should end all arguments on here, and keep people on track supporting the locals.

CAM
CAM
8 months ago
Reply to  criss whicker

Exactly!

dan
dan
8 months ago

Would Scotland be allowed to buy the Tempest? lol

Bob
Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  dan

Could they afford it?

James
James
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Of course, when we loan them the money to purchase it that they will never repay.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago

Surely the SNP realise that the biggest effects on any local community, infrastructure and investment would be their planned closure of Faslane? All the rest are pretty much routine as what has been, and is happening, to many military locations around the UK. The “rationalisation” aka flogging off MOD land, bases and training areas, while to an extent understandable due to the reduced footprint, does seem to be going a little to far.

Callum
Callum
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Didn’t they claim there’d be basically no job losses at Faslane because they’d be setting up their independent joint headquarters at the base? I don’t believe it for a second of course, the entire Scottish independent armed forces would have to move on to that single site to generate the same numbers and income, and that doesn’t seem likely.

The rationalisation of bases is certainly unfortunate. People support things they can see in action, and fewer military installations means fewer people engaging with the forces and wanting to join.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
8 months ago
Reply to  Callum

If and it’s a very big if scotland went defence independent it is a country the size of Norway, Denmark etc. Are there defence forces inadequate? What makes you think Scottish forces would be integrated into uk forces as much as possible.
They way some go on it’s like the day independence was started all up forces go and we buy mig29’s and abandon nato and our closest ally and who Scotland shares a land border with.

Callum
Callum
8 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Those are incredibly poor choices to compare, Norway and Denmark have GDPs twice as high as Scotland, and Norway has still has conscription.

Regardless, where did I say anything about the Scottish forces being inadequate or being integrated into the UK forces? My comment is focused purely on the fact that an independent Scotland wouldn’t be able to completely fill the gap left by UK facilities like Faslane

Andy P
Andy P
8 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

What makes you think Scottish forces would be integrated into uk forces as much as possible.”

Assuming it all comes to pass, Indy Scotland yaddah yaddah yaddah, I’d be curious to see if rUK have a similar arrangement with Indy Scotland to the one the UK has with the ROI and if they’d be happy to continue to let Jocks join up. It could potentially put a spanner in indy Scotland’s defence forces if there’s a bigger, fancier and better paid option down the road.

Just thinking out loud really.

George
George
8 months ago
Reply to  Callum

Fully agree Callum, the SNP did some time ago made a statement that when independent comes, the Scottish Defence Force would replace the UK military assets.
How could they with a fraction of the UK’s defence budget. If I recall, the SNP have stated they will spend approximately 1.2% of Scottish GDP.
Cheers,
George

Gary Walling
Gary Walling
8 months ago
Reply to  George

n some areas a reliance on rUK for trg etc would be a necessity eg: the ambition to keep a sqn of Typhoons in the SDF would not be financially viable if they wanted to train their own specialist engineers and pilots for the type. It would make more sense to send the personnel to train within the larger RAF scheme.

Jon
Jon
8 months ago

Surely the committee has the right idea. If there are to be closures, studying the effects in advance seems very sensible.

My only question is why is this the Scottish Committee’s initiative if closures are UK wide? I know the answer is politics as can be seen by the biased nature of some of the questions. (Can anyone imagine them finding that the UK government should not offer any additional support to individuals and communities affected?)

Nevertheless, the rest of the UK should be represented by thinking along the same lines.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jon
Callum
Callum
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon

I can see the intent behind what you’re saying, but it would almost certainly backfire on defence. Decisions would become far less concerned with delivering capability, and more concerned with sustaining useless commitments.

Defence is already too often used as a political tool, adding in studies like this would make it worse

Jon
Jon
8 months ago
Reply to  Callum

I’m sure there will be political backlash as you say. And the Scottish Affairs Committee has made sure that we are about to get it whether we want it or not. (Although I believe it would have happened anyway.) It’s a given. So, what now? The decision has been made to rationalise the bases; I have no problem with that. It isn’t right to shut our eyes to the consequences simply to avoid as much fallout as we can get away with. If the case is made for Scotland and not the rest of the UK, won’t that politicise it… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon

I think you’ve answered your own question Jon, while this is happening across the UK its the Scottish Affairs Committee that are running the enquiry, the clue is in the name. That’s not to say that other areas/regions or committees can’t ask the same or similar questions, just that this one is on narrow geographical lines.

Here’s a link to who’s on it, its not something I’ve paid particular attention to to be honest but it its cross party.

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/136/scottish-affairs-committee/membership/

Jon
Jon
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Thanks. I hadn’t spotted that there simply is no English regional nor UK-wide select committee within whose purview it falls.