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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP's Defence spokesman at Westminster yesterday demanded and explanation from Defence Secretary Philip Hammond over the £1billion imbalance between the contribution made by Scottish taxpayers and the level of defence spending in Scotland.

Speaking at Defence Questions, SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP asked the MoD to explain why, when Scottish taxpayers contribute almost £3billion a year towards defence spending, nearly a third of that was not spent in Scotland.

However Mr Hammond refused to give a detailed answer, and gave a misleading reply, attempting to explain the disparity as being due to UK defence commitments overseas:

Mr Hammond said:  "Well the last time I checked the people we were needing to protect the UK against weren't in Scotland, and I think that Scottish taxpayers, like the rest of the UK's taxpayers, respect that we deploy our military forces, and structure our military posture to deal with the threats that we are facing."

The UK is forecast to spend £33.7 billion on military defence spending in the current financial year.  Spending on military operations overseas, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and UK involvement in the Libyan campaign, does not come out of the defence budget, but rather from the Special Government Reserve fund. This money is additional to the budget of the Ministry of Defence, and was not the subject of Mr Robertson's question.

Commenting after the exchange, Mr Robertson said:

"There is a mammoth imbalance between the contribution made by Scottish taxpayers to the Ministry of Defence and the level of spending that comes to Scotland.

"People will be shocked by this imbalance because, in contrast to the conventional wisdom about a significant and well-funded UK defence presence in Scotland, the facts are entirely different.

"Even before the basing review last year which left Scotland with just one RAF base, Scotland had already been hit by the loss of more than 10,500 defence job losses and a £5.6billion underspend over the last decade.

"These facts make the scare stories of the anti-independence parties all the more absurd when you consider the assessment by Professor Malcolm Chalmers, of the Royal United Services Institute, that a Scottish Defence Force would cost about £2.2 billion – which is £1 billion less than Scottish taxpayers are contributing right now to defence spending in the UK

"UK Ministers must explain why this extraordinary imbalance has occurred, and more importantly what they will now do to address it."

Comments  

 
# clootie 2012-02-21 08:24
It is another dividend of the union. We pay for someone to strut on the World stage.
 
 
# Hing em high 2012-02-21 17:37
Dont you mean we pay for someone to bully Johnny Foreigner, which is everything in making us more secure blah dee blahh etc!
 
 
# Marian 2012-02-21 08:46
The defence of an independent Scotland could not be any worse off than it is under the union,.

The former UK defence secretary Liam Fox MSP disclosed before he resigned that there were 12,190 regular service personnel based in Scotland. The figure included Scots based personnel temporarily on active service outside of Scotland.

The net effect of the changes announced in his defence review by Liam Fox are unlikely to make much difference to the number of service personnel based in Scotland.

By comparison the armed forces of Scotland's near neighbour Norway has 26,200 in active service and Denmark has 22,000 in active service.

The UK has 224,500 regulars so on a pro-capita basis Scotland would inherit approximately 22,000 on active service for its post independence self-defence force.

This is of similar size to Norway and Denmark, who are independent nations with similar sized populations to Scotland.

So it is extremely unlikely that a post-independent Scotland would only have 12,190 service-personnel in Scotland.

Scotland is being short-changed once more by Westminster.

So much for the so-called "union dividend" which has been exposed as yet another piece of unionist inspired misinformation.
 
 
# xyz 2012-02-21 08:51
"does not come out of the defence budget, but rather from the Special Government Reserve fund."

Thanks for that .. the snp.org article here: snp.org/.../... Does not rebut Hammond's rebuttal .....

Your makes clear part the subsidy Scotland provide to the other parts of the UK.
 
 
# RTP 2012-02-21 08:58
O/T

I thought Lamont was in charge in Scotland not according to the Herald.

Claims of London control in Labour's Glasgow campaign.

LABOUR apparatchiks, including a former ministerial aide and a student leader, have been dispatched to Glasgow to take control of the party's municipal election strategy, sparking further allegations of "London control".
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-02-21 13:29
Quoting RTP:
O/T

I thought Lamont was in charge in Scotland not according to the Herald.

Claims of London control in Labour's Glasgow campaign.

LABOUR apparatchiks, including a former ministerial aide and a student leader, have been dispatched to Glasgow to take control of the party's municipal election strategy, sparking further allegations of "London control".



Doesn't surprise me one bit.
To maintain their Union,the Unionist parties will do all in their power------.

May I whisper,"McCrone Report" just for starters.

They have the full apparatus of the British State at their beck and call.Beware.
 
 
# BeltaneFire 2012-02-21 09:35
While I accept that military strategic planning during war means that the spread of forces cannot be as definitive as in peacetime, my main gripe with this is that our proportional share of defence spending is used by our opponents, with other expenditure, to demonstrate how we couldn't afford our own forces.

The simple truth is that we are presently paying for something that we won't require post-independence.

The pursuit of a peaceful and ethical foreign policy is an idea unfamiliar to the Westminster Brit Nat faction; an idea that seems to leave them aghast at our preceived naivety in military matters and world affairs.

Their pretentions are in for a massive shock in the years to come.

Can the British ego survive?
 
 
# deepwater 2012-02-21 13:10
"Can the British ego survive?"

NO - Which is a fundamental underlying reason it must fight so hard today.
 
 
# S Mach 2012-02-21 09:44
More smoke and musty mirrors from Westminster, the sooner we get independence and our own defence force (in keeping with the size of our country), the sooner we can live in peace with the rest of the world. If the rest of the UK want to sabre rattle over every point of the compass, let them do it without Scotland.

And Lamont, well long may her reign in charge of Scottish Labour continue, she's the best ally from Labour the independent movement has, even if she doesn't mean to be so!
 
 
# Sleekit 2012-02-21 12:34
I am glad they are finally bringing this argument forward as I have been trying to get the message out for weeks now.

This is the single biggest fact that puts pay to the defence issue for Scotland and proves that the only Union Dividend goes south!
 
 
# macdoc 2012-02-21 14:00
Ive been going on about this for long time. Even on the GERs figures defence spending is claimed as unidentifiable (along with the olympics and others) and Scotland is given a population percent share to add to expenditure. Thats £200 for every person in Scotland. They love go on about how much higher public spending is in Scotland comapred to the rest of the UK (even though its higher in NI and London) but thats £200 right away that shouldn't be there.

Heres ab it more information on expenditure.

bepartofbetter.net/.../...

Of course they completely forget about taxes raised when talking about Scotland's finances.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-02-21 15:44
Then Hammond needs to tell everyone in the UK what is being spent on illegal and unwinable wars so we can see exactly what, and who is paying for Westminster stupidity.

Add to the cost, how many UK and Nationals lives their vanity costs, and then tell us the MOD budget is value for money.

Last time I heard Hammond's MOD have no idea how much gear they already have, where the hell it all is, and absolutely no idea how much they spend. The guy is a numpty.
 
 
# macdoc 2012-02-21 16:05
To have an idea of how much the UK spends on defence we can compare it to the EU. en.wikipedia.org/.../...

2.56% of total GDP. This comapres with the next most of Greece at 2.07% and the EU average of 1.61%. I.e Britain spends roughly 60% more than the average EU nation relative to wealth.

If we look at what Scotlands expenditure to Defence is (Yes 1/3 is not spent in Scotland) 3088 million 2008-2009 and 3160 million 2009-2010 against a total GDP of 141,176 million 2008-2009 and 131,163 million 2009-2010. That is 2.19% and 2.41% of GDP. (GERs figures, Scotland has a lower percentage relative to the UK because Scotland has a higher GDP per capita)

We could cut the defence budget by 1-1.5 billion and still have a appropriate sized and efficeint defence.

Just think what this added money could bring, be spent on health, transport infrasutructe, renovation. Scotland is the wealthiest nation within the UK but has the worst health and poverty statistics in western europe. Its an absolute tradgedy but I suppose the Union is good for Scotland. This is just one area of why even when we useGERs figures to show Scotland is wealthy it says nothing of the economic potential of a nation which does not control taxation. Even the most incompetent government on earth would be hard found to ruin Scotlands economy given her natural resources.
 
 
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-21 16:24
Quote:
Even the most incompetent government on earth would be hard found to ruin Scotlands economy given her natural resources.


Ahem! Labour! need I say more. :D
 
 
# 357ms 2012-02-21 18:44
Would Robertson (or anybody else) explain how he thinks it is possible for the MOD to spend money on tanks, aircraft, helicopters, small arms, artillery, etc, etc, in Scotland when none of them are made here?

Or indeed, how "independence" would change that situation, since all of the above items would STILL not be made here?

And as for the future of the Clyde and Rosyth shipyards, can Robertson or anybody else find any examples of countries awarding warship work to foreign countries when they didn't have to?

(Hint: there aren't any.)
 
 
# oldnat 2012-02-21 21:03
Seems that things work both ways according to circumstances

english.pravda.ru/.../...

indiannavy.nic.in/dna.pdf

marinelog.com/.../...

Things aren't as straightforward as you like to present.
 
 
# Wee-Scamp 2012-02-21 19:35
Actually it would be very interesting to analyse how much of the overall UK defence budget is now spent on overseas owned suppliers.

During Labour's period in Govt it seemed to me a lot of UK companies were sold to particularly US companies and I still can't get over the fact that Labour allowed a contract for the crane used to assemble the new aircraft carriers to a Chinese communist company.
 
 
# call me dave 2012-02-22 01:39
A point well made. I had forgotten about the crane.

Perhaps some work for our yards will come from the decommissioning of the oil rigs that are nearing the end of their service life.
 
 
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-22 01:44
There's always the aircraft carriers currently being built that will require decommissioning in a few years. :D
 

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