UK caught "red-handed" on Scotland's underspend

A Freedom of Information request has revealed Scotland is being sold short on defence spending – to the tune of £7.4billion – and gives conclusive proof that the Ministry of Defence has hidden damaging evidence of this massive underspend in Scotland, having consistently denied holding this information.

The MoD has repeatedly claimed in the House of Commons, and elsewhere, that they no longer produce spending statistics for the nations and regions of the UK – but this FOI shows they do.

The FOI adds £1.9bn more to the known underspend in the whole defence establishment in Scotland taking the total over ten years to 2012 to at least £7.4billion.

Despite repeated attempts to unearth this information, the MoD has evaded and avoided answering – and moreover has lied about its ability to produce these figures, making alarming reading for Scots.

Commenting on the report’s findings, SNP Westminster Leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:

“The MoD has been caught red-handed. They told us they stopped publishing statistics of this type, only for it to be revealed that they do – but only for internal consumption.

“This is really nothing more or less than a cover-up as the minister assured me in parliamentary questions and debates that they were no longer published.

“Worst of all these figures show the underspend in Scotland continues to fundamentally undermine any remaining defence case for the union.

“Scottish taxpayers will feel rightly outraged at this deception and begs the question if any MoD pronouncements can be taken seriously.

“It is of course a devastating blow to unionist claims that Scotland gets a good deal on defence spending and totally exposes the deliberately misleading behaviour of the anti-independence parties.

“It beggars belief that this comes at the end of a week when a Scottish newspaper had to apologise and correct a scare story about job losses at Faslane, that was completely made up, and when a Westminster Defence minister showed himself unable to produce reliable information to the House of Commons about the same base which also had to be corrected.”