COMMONS

MPs reply to Government response on implications of terminating Trident

09 January 2013

The Scottish Affairs Committee publishes a reply to the UK Government on terminating Trident.

The Scottish Affairs Committee believes the people of Scotland deserve full information about the choices being offered by the forthcoming vote on Separation. This is why we are producing a series of Reports identifying questions to which answers are sought.

In their response to us, the UK Government makes clear that it does not intend to pre-negotiate the consequences of Scottish independence. We understand why it takes this line, as it is not up to the UK Government to make a case for change. Nevertheless it limits the information available to voters and we encourage the Government to do more to clarify the potential consequences of separation.

However, we do welcome their reminders of the stark choice facing Scotland in relation to the Royal Naval facilities on the Clyde.

  1. Remaining within the UK would not only retain the existing 6,700 jobs at Faslane but would increase employment to 8,200 by 2022.
  2. Removal of the Trident submarines would mean that “the entirety of the submarine enterprise on the Clyde would be relocated”.

Bearing in mind the words of Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive, Yes Scotland campaign, in his evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee on 20 November 2012:

 “I think that in any referendum the onus is on the side of the campaign that is proposing a change to make the case for change. I have always accepted in this referendum that there is a fair onus, if you like, on the yes campaign to make the case for change”

Responsibility now passes to those arguing for separation to clarify:

  1. Whether they propose to have Trident removed within “Days or Decades” as outlined in our Report HC676.
  2. How they intend to compensate for loss of the existing 6,700 jobs (planned to rise to 8,200 in 2022), which are overwhelmingly highly skilled and well paid.
  3. How they believe any costs of relocation and cleaning up would be shared.

Further to the initial letter from Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Deputy First Minister, to Ian Davidson MP, Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, we welcome the engagement of the Scottish Government and look forward to receiving its full response to our Report in due course.

Further information

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