Defence that works for the people of Scotland
STRATEGIC DEFENCE AND SECURITY REVIEW
As a northern European nation, our near neighbourhood including the High North and Arctic are a key priority for Scotland. The forthcoming UK Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) must take full account of the particular challenges and opportunities of the northern regional dimension, and of the need to be more effective at combating cyber-terrorism where the SDSR must lay out a clear strategy, including continued engagement with the Scottish Government.
The SDSR must review the current Ministry of Defence record, which includes falsely inflating spending commitments, mismanaging Army personnel reforms and creating dangerous capability gaps.
In particular, we believe there should be ocean going conventional patrol vessels based permanently in Scotland and will seek the early procurement of multi-role Maritime Patrol Aircraft purchased ‘off the shelf’ by the end of this parliament and operating from Scotland.
Independent Nuclear Deterrent.
The SDSR must also fully consider the advantages of a defence policy without weapons of mass destruction and wasting £100bn renewing Trident. We will continue in our principled opposition to nuclear weapons and believe that the UK should abandon plans to renew the Trident nuclear missile system. In addition, the MoD should also publish in full current and projected annual costs of the Trident system and its proposed successor programme, including nuclear weapons through-life costs.
THE CONVENTIONAL DEFENCE FOOTPRINT
UK policy has seen reductions in conventional footprint in Scotland, leading to a significant underspend, meaning fewer jobs and less defence related spending to benefit local economies. Existing conventional bases in Scotland should be retained and all conventional rebasing activities should be completed by the end of this parliament. There should be no further erosion of the Scottish regiments and it remains our ambition to see the traditional regiments restored.
We support greater transparency in UK defence spending, with a full breakdown of spending by nation and region in the UK, including all procurement and SME expenditure and a full breakdown of component costs of all major projects by location.
With taxpayers in Scotland contributing billions of pounds more than the MOD currently spends in Scotland we believe that a far larger proportion of the defence procurement budget should be spent in Scotland. There should be a strategy developed by the MOD to ensure more small and medium sized enterprises in Scotland are part of the manufacturing support chain for major defence projects. The Type 26 frigates must be built in Scotland and the Aircraft Carriers refitted at Rosyth.
LOOKING AFTER OUR SERVICE PERSONNEL
The duty of care to our service personnel, veterans and their families must be a key priority. The MoD should provide much better support to next of kin and bereaved families in the event of a loss of a serving relative. As a matter of safety, we believe a collision warning system should be installed on Tornado and Typhoon aircraft as quickly as possible. We also support giving Armed Forces representative bodies a statutory footing.