MoD pressed over tax and spend imbalance

The SNP has demanded an explanation from the Defence Secretary 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 more than £3billion a year towards defence spending, nearly a third of that was not spent in Scotland.

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 than10,500 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.”

Note:

Mr Robertson: Mr Speaker, Scottish taxpayers pay £3billion a year towards the Ministry of Defence, but according to the MoD’s own statistics nearly a third of that is not spent in Scotland. Why is that?

Stephen Hammond: 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.