COMMONS

Scottish Government goes on "Evasive Manoeuvres" over future of Trident

07 March 2013

The Committee is today publishing the response it requested from the Scottish Government to its report into the future of the UK's nuclear bases, The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Terminating Trident – Days or Decades?

The Committee's report warned that Separation creates the prospect of substantial job loss at Faslane and Coulport, since not only will existing posts be in danger, but the anticipated growth which will come from the establishment of the Clyde as the UK's centre of excellence for its entire submarine fleet will be lost.

Existing job figures are 6,700, anticipated to rise to 8,100 after the relocation of Astute and Trafalgar class boats and other facilities. A speedy removal of Trident would also impose unilateral nuclear disarmament upon the United Kingdom for an indeterminate period.

The Committee called on both the UK and Scottish governments to fully detail the consequences of the removal of Trident as part of any secession agreement. The Committee followed this up with a specific request to the Scottish Government to lay out openly its timetable for any Trident removal.

The Committee received the UK Government's response in January 2012. The Committee has now also received the Scottish Government’s response and publishes it today.

The Committee will hold an evidence session this Thursday with shop stewards from Coulport and Faslane, to discuss the impact of Trident removal on Clyde jobs. The Committee will  then lead a House of Commons Westminster Hall debate at 1.30pm on its report into the future of Trident and the two governments’ responses.

Witness

Thursday 7 March

At 11.30am in Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster

  • Martin McCurley, Trade Union Convenor, Coulport
  • Jim Conroy, Chair Shop Stewards Committee, Faslane
  • Richie Calder, Shop Steward, Unite, Faslane

The Committee will then lead a debate on The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Terminating Trident – Days or Decades? starting in Westminster Hall at 2.30pm.

 

Ian Davidson MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"We are pleased that the Scottish Government answered our request that they, as well as the UK Government, formally respond to our report on the consequences of Separation. The people of Scotland clearly cannot go into a referendum on Separation without total clarity on such a momentous issue.

 

The future of Trident, and the financial consequences and the impact on Scottish jobs, is clearly one of the most important single issues facing Scotland. The way in which this is resolved, and the mood created, will impact upon every other single element of the multi-faceted Separation negotiations.

 

Unfortunately, the Scottish Government has gone on evasive manoeuvres over the issue of what they will really do in the event of Separation. Their response dodges the central question, which is what they really mean by their stated policy of the ‘speediest safe transition’ of Trident from Scotland. As we said in our report, in reality, Trident can be deactivated within a matter of days and the warheads removed from Scotland within twenty four months. In the process, the UK would lose the ability to operate its nuclear deterrent. Alternatively, it would take approximately 25 years for new facilities to be created elsewhere in the UK. We believe the Scottish Government must be honest and open about their intentions.

 

Tomorrow we will be taking evidence from the Convener and Shop Stewards at the Coulport and Faslane. They represent the workers who will bear the brunt of job loss as a result of any speedy Trident removal and they are aware that the UK Government has said that all submarines and associated naval forces will be removed from the Clyde if Trident has to go.

 

We have also secured a debate on the important issues raised in our report and the two Governments’ responses to it. We hope that these events will provide an opportunity to begin the frank and open public discussion that is essential if a rational and fully-informed decision is to be taken about Separation."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto 

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