Westminister Trident claims don't add up
Condemning the latest scaremongering from the Westminster Government on Trident in an independent Scotland, SNP Defence Spokesperson Angus Robertson said that it was time for anti-independence politicians to live up to their commitment to run a positive campaign in 2013.
Claims in today’s media from the UK Government that removing Trident from Scotland “….would come at a huge cost…it would be an enormous exercise to reproduce the facilities elsewhere” and would lead to the loss of over 8000 jobs have already been completely discredited – by the UK Government themselves.
An official answer given by Defence Minister Philip Dunne last month stated that there are actually more authorised berths at HM Naval Base Devonport, in Plymouth, than on the Clyde.
Despite a number of wild exaggerations about the number of jobs that would be lost if Trident was scrapped – over 8,000 according to the UK Government today - an FOI to the MoD revealed that just 520 jobs were directly dependent on the Trident fleet based on the Clyde.
This also ignores the number of jobs that are not created elsewhere in the economy by spending such large sums of money on weapons of mass destruction. A report by the STUC noted that renewing Trident will actually cost Scotland jobs – rather than protect them.
At the weekend, Labour’s referendum campaign manager Anas Sarwar admitted that people will not be won over by negative scare stories on independence, and pledged that Better Together would fight a more positive campaign in 2013.
Commenting, SNP Westminster leader Mr Robertson said:
“Another day, another scare story from the anti-independence parties, but these claims have already been discredited countless times before – even by the UK Government themselves!
“Answers obtained from the Westminster Government either through Parliamentary questions or Freedom of Information make quite clear that Plymouth actually has more capacity for the nuclear submarines that the Clyde – and that the jobs dependent on Trident are around 500 – not 8,000 as they have claimed today.
“The Scottish Affairs Committee already explored this issue in depth – and even they found that the weapons of mass destruction could be removed from Scotland’s waters within a matter of months, not many years as the UK Government have once again tried to claim. This doesn’t fit in with their agenda, so the UK Government have completely ignored it.
“The reality is that Trident is a jobs destroyer. The STUC have themselves noted that the huge financial outlay in renewing Trident will actually cost Scotland jobs – rather than safeguard them – with vital resources diverted from elsewhere in the economy.
“Faslane has a bright future in an independent Scotland has the home of Scotland’s conventional naval force – and the SNP will continue to make this positive case.
“Anas Sarwar himself said that the so-called Better Together campaign will be raising the level of debate in 2013 and ensuring Scotland gets the level of debate it deserves – yet within days they’ve already resorted to the same discredited – and frankly dishonest – scare stories.
“Trident is not wanted by either Scotland’s Parliament or Scotland’s people – if they want to fight a positive campaign this year, perhaps the anti-independence parties could begin by acknowledging this.”