Newsnet Main Articles

mod2  By Bob Duncan
The UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is set to backtrack on promises on troop redeployment given just two years ago to families and communities across Scotland, say the SNP.
In what the nationalists have described as "another blow" to the Better Together campaign, in an announcement to the House of Commons scheduled for today it is expected Mr Hammond will confirm that troop numbers in Scotland will be nowhere near those previously pledged by the UK government.

In July 2011, then Defence Secretary Liam Fox promised that between 6,500 and 7,000 personnel would return to Scotland and be part of a new multi-role brigade.  He also pledged new barracks would be built at Kirknewton in West Lothian and a new training area would be established in the Borders, in a move that was designed to partially compensate for recent disproportionate cuts in manpower, spending and basing in Scotland.

He told MPs: “It is impossible to give an exact number, but I would imagine that between 6,500 and 7,000, or something of that order, of the 20,000 personnel we currently have in Germany will be coming back to the multi-role brigades in Scotland.”

Bolstering SNP predictions, the Scotsman newspaper yesterday revealed that, rather than the promised increase of 200%, there will be a “modest increase” of just 20%, taking the total size of the army in Scotland to just 3,800.

Quoting a source close to Mr Hammond who said the announcement would be “good news” for Scotland, the newspaper revealed that less than five per cent of UK troops would now be stationed north of the border.

The U-turn is yet another blow to the Better Together campaign which last month highlighted as a reason for rejecting independence the tens of thousands of Scottish communities that rely on armed forces bases for their livelihoods.

At present, there are no regular Army units based in Scotland in the following categories: Artillery, Armour, Signals, Logistics, Air Corps, Intelligence or Special Forces.

There are also no military Training Establishments in Scotland. This means there is no Military Academy, Engineering School, Army Training Regiments or Infantry Training Centres.

And there is no senior strategic military command in Scotland.

It is also reported that plans for a new super-base at Kirknewton, near Edinburgh, have been scrapped, while proposals to use HMS Caledonia in Fife as an army base are also in doubt, as is the future of the Arbroath base when the Royal Marines leave in 2016.

Westminster SNP Leader and Defence Spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:

“Less than two years have passed since promises were made to the Westminster parliament that up to 7,000 personnel would return to Scotland, and that there would be new barracks for them as well as a new training area. These promises were being made to partially make good on recent disproportionate cuts to personnel, spending and basing in Scotland.

“Add to that we know  what we suspected, that in the last ten years alone the defence underspend in Scotland amounts to over £7 billion pounds.” 

“Communities in Scotland will be appalled that these assurance are now shown to be not worth the paper they were written on, and that Scotland is once again going to be let down by the MoD. We know there are ferocious rows going on at the moment in the coalition to decide where to slash next, but for the coalition to behave like this while still committing to spend up to £100 billion on Trident nuclear weapon of mass destruction to be dumped on the Clyde is simply unacceptable.

“The UK government is going back on its recent defence promises to Scotland. This is totally unacceptable, and underlines why better defence decisions should be made in Scotland with independence.”

The SNP said today's announcement would show the UK government could not be trusted on its commitments to Scotland.

Last weekend SNP Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon published a letter to Mr Hammond demanding clarification on the plans and the future of other bases.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland has already been disproportionately affected by the defence cuts, and we now hear any increase may be limited to only a few hundred army personnel.”


# Big Eye 2013-03-05 07:17
Another day, another nail in the Better Together campaign. I think the reason the No campaign is so thin is because they dare not print a leaflet as before they deliver them events have shown them to be a pile of piffle.

How much more evidence do Scots need to wake up to the fact that we are treated like second class citizens in our own country?
# hiorta 2013-03-05 07:28
Scotland was given a Westminster pledge?
That's as much use as a chocolate teapot.
# daveniz 2013-03-05 07:57
BBC really at it again when they claim that Luxembourg are against Scottish independance with a quote that doesn't even mention Scotland and actually sounds more like a reaction to the Tories in or out of the eu referendum!
# susanl1960 2013-03-05 19:49
[quote name="daveniz"]BBC really at it again when they claim that Luxembourg are against Scottish independance with a quote that doesn't even mention Scotland and actually sounds more like a reaction to the Tories in or out of the eu referendum!
Luxembourg's Foreign Minister has backtracked on a comment about Scotland's independence which was quoted in the British media, saying it was misinterpreted.
Oh dear the BBC wouldn't be lying again would they !!!!!
# clootie 2013-03-05 08:05
This is the treatment with a referendum planned for next year. Think what the attitude would be like if they secure a NO vote.

A NO vote is not the status quo.
# Breeks 2013-03-05 08:53
Westminster feels more and more foreign every day. Only a Scottish Government will deliver an economy fit for it's people.

They'll take away our squaddies, and give us the BBC and nuclear weapons.

Here's to the day when we give them back their BBC as obsolete and surplus to Scotland's requirements.
# G. P. Walrus 2013-03-06 06:34
Agreed. Remove all weapons of mass deception.
# From The Suburbs 2013-03-05 09:11
After trying 26 other countries, our State Broadcaster has eventually found a EU country opposed to Scottish independence.

Mighty Luxembourg... which was formerly at times run by Belgium or Holland but BBC didn't ask if they would prefer to revert to these days or remain independent.
# FREEDOM1 2013-03-05 09:26
From The Suburbs - how much Public money did the bbc spend before they eventually found this obscure Luxembourg mep to spout this rubbish. How many countries have they gone to and how many Hotel Bills and expenses have they paid to Campbell? How many meps did they find who were unopposed to Scottish Independence? It must have cost us a fortune just to find just two people in all of the EU who sides with the bbc.
# gus1940 2013-03-05 11:25
And still not a cheep on BBC or in MSM regarding Nicola's speech in Brussels last week.
# gayle 2013-03-05 09:33
Only, BBC have been caught at it again.

Luxembourg said, "As we are all facing serious economic and social challenges, this is a time for solidarity between Member States of the EU and within Member States, rather than for going separate ways."

My interpretation, Luxembourg asking for Member states and their politicians/political parties to unite for the common good rather than leaving the EU in these troubled times.

When pushed on the Scotland issue the response was it is up to the people to decide what is best for them. (Words to that effect.)
# Muz 2013-03-05 12:18
I think your interpretation is spot on.
The BBC seems desperate to encourage an EU Foreign Minister to say Scottish citizens should be expelled from the EU. Such a unique event in history seems to be the BBC's "holy grail" in this debate.
# Old Smokey 2013-03-05 13:07
What does Luxembourg produce?
or name any Luxembourg manufactured goods?
Then again which EU country attracts the most tax dodging corporations and the EU turn a blind eye
# call me dave 2013-03-05 10:34
Probably be a BBC fit up and more a reaction to the UK government giing for a EU referendum.
I'll hang on until the dust clears
# gus1940 2013-03-05 11:41
Regarding Scotland's Defence once we have achieved Independence a couple of days ago I Googled 'Irish Defence Budget' The results were very interesting in particular as regards how low the figure is.

It demonstrates how a country which has no imperialist ambitions and which does not want to embark on illegal wars can defend itself effectively without breaking the bank.
# Dee 2013-03-05 11:46
Does anyone know when the shipyard decision will be made about which one will close, will it be govan or Portsmouth ... I think it will be Portsmouth and again will show the no campaign that the Clyde is the best shipbuilders in the world.. Vote Yes 2014..
# FREEDOM1 2013-03-05 14:48
I don't understand what all the fuss is about british soldiers coming to Scotland. We will have our own soldiers after independence. Anyway the more british soldiers we have living in Scotland the more unionist voters we have. Can someone please explain why we need them in Scotland?
# Ready to Start 2013-03-05 14:52
The Royal United Services Institute, a body not known for their pro-independence stance has stated that Scotland would actually be better off independent to the tune of £ 1.5 Billion. They state that "The overall cost of defending an independent Scotland has been estimated to be around £1.8 billion per annum, approximately 1.3 per cent of Scotland's GDP, and around £1.5 billion less than the costs currently paid by Scottish taxpayers as their contribution to the defence of the UK"
# tarbat 2013-03-05 17:01
Quoting Ready to Start:
t...... and around £1.5 billion less than the costs currently paid by Scottish taxpayers as their contribution to the defence of the UK"

An interesting report. So, a saving of £1.5bn, which works out at £625 each year for every household in Scotland.
# X_Sticks 2013-03-05 15:20
I see that the number of troops coming to Scotland is to be 600:

This is a bit lower than the 7,500 that westminster "promised" would be coming to make up for the RAF base closures.

If this is how they keep their "promises" pre-referendum, just imagine how good they would be at keeping their "promises" after the referendum if we vote No.

It simply doesn't bear thinking about.

All the jam tomorrow promises from Dougie Alexander et al, total lies.

Vote for independence in 2014!
# Skip_NC 2013-03-05 17:06
Looking at the table in the article you linked to, I see Scotland's borders are going to be extended - to Belfast in 2014 and North Yorkshire (right in the middle of Hagueland) in 2015. I wonder how the first move will alter the referendum vote?
# Breeks 2013-03-05 15:29
No disrespect to our soldiers, but Scotland's best defence is a piece of paper in 2014.
# jamaisarriere 2013-03-05 16:30
I must admit I'm at a loss as to why the Scottish Battalion coming back from Germany is going to Yorkshire, and that the 1st battalion is getting moved to Belfast, as per the BBC page below

This has to be a complete own goal for the unionists on the eve of a referendum, and looks like a bit of furniture rearrangement on the Titanic to me.
# From The Suburbs 2013-03-05 17:23
Just heard on BBC RADIO SCOTLAND at 5.19 pm a biased broadcasting interviewer burst out laughing when Angus Robertson mentioned that defence cuts was another reason to vote YES.
# proudscot 2013-03-06 13:11
Quoting From The Suburbs:
Just heard on BBC RADIO SCOTLAND at 5.19 pm a biased broadcasting interviewer burst out laughing when Angus Robertson mentioned that defence cuts was another reason to vote YES.

I heard that too, with anger I might add. Also, when have any so-called BBC defence experts ever compared the Scandinavian countries' defence strengths and numbers of their armed forces, and the amounts they variously cost from their national budgets, to the similar cost and numbers of an independent Scotland's armed forces? Answer - never! Come on Buchanan, Campbell, et al, let's hear a real bit of investigative reporting from you on THAT comparison.
# clootie 2013-03-05 17:55
Strange comments from Jim Murphy on this topic - I thought he was Scottish. He seems to muddle Independence and the SNP. It sounds as though he won't be joining us in our seperate Scotland - so much for accepting the democratic will of the people.

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.


Donate to Newsnet Scotland


Latest Comments