SNP Refute Tory Scaremongering on Defence

Angus Robertson M.P.Commenting on the latest round of scaremongering from the Tory Government SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:
“This is just more anti-Scottish scaremongering from the Tories without a stitch of evidence – which the Managing Director of Babcock at Rosyth, Michael Pettigrew, refused to stand up today, much to the humiliation of Michael Moore.  The irony is that Westminster has presided over a £5.6 billion defence underspend and 10,500 defence job losses in Scotland over the last decade.

It is not the London government that makes the yards successful – it is the second-to-none Scottish skills base and technical expertise that brings orders to the yards, and that will continue under independence. In reality, and in all circumstances, Scottish yards will secure orders from around the world on the  basis of their skills and formidable record of delivery.

With independence, Scotland will dump the expensive and obscene Trident nuclear weapons, and invest in professional, conventional forces.  It is clear that far from Scotland benefiting from a defence dividend with the Union, we have in fact been victim of  defence downturn.  The disastrous decisions made for Scotland by Westminster demonstrate the modern benefits and opportunities offered by independence.”

EU Directive 2009/81/EC which will come into law on August 21 that was supported by Labour and the current coalition – will open up defence procurement in the EU through the European Defence Agency.  This will see closer collaboration between nations on joint projects and it will also mean more competition across all defence sectors in securing contracts.
Shipbuilders across Europe often get orders from foreign countries. France makes ships for Russia, the UK has made frigates for Malaysia. There is no reason that Scotland would not attract a healthy order book.

For example, the Type 26 destroyer, now called the Global Combat ship, has attracted interest from countries including Australia and Canada. They could participate in design and production of the ships. Though no orders have been made, the collaborative
nature of shipbuilding means components can be made in different countries.

ALAN JOHNSTON, the former Chief Executive of BVT Surface Fleets – BBC Radio Scotland, 6 July 2008

“We’d have to be developing further export military markets.  We’re already engaged in discussions in various places.  Both the Clyde yard and the south.Portsmouth yards have in
the past been successful, but we need to re-energise our efforts in the international market place.

In June 2008,  Enterprise Minister Jim Mather published research showing Scotland
trailing three of the four comparable nations in terms of the turnover in the shipbuilding industry.

If shipbuilding in Scotland had the same average share of manufacturing turnover and employment across each of the four comparable nations of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, turnover would be £400 million higher than the current level and employment over 2,000 higher.
Norway in particular has achieved notable success with a turnover of £3.69 billion to £510 million for Scotland.

Agreements and Treaties In the last 10 years the UK has signed 262 Defence Treaties and
Memorandums of Understandings (MoU’s) with countries all over the world on countless issues of co-operation. That’s an average of 26 a year, over 2 a month!

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