‘Significant investment’ in defence procurement for independent Scotland

Gurjit Degun
27 November 2013

The Scottish Government plans to make a “significant investment in procurement” on defence if the country votes for independence.

The white paper, which was launched yesterday, said the investment would support key industries in Scotland such as shipbuilding. There are also plans for joint defence procurement with the Westminster government.

“By removing nuclear weapons and maintaining defence forces appropriate to our circumstances, we can save a substantial proportion of Scotland’s current defence contribution to the UK, while still having levels of defence spending that allow us to deliver the capabilities we need and make a significant investment in procurement, supporting key Scottish industries including the shipbuilding industry.”

The white paper added that an independent government would ensure its defence budget will “support the procurement of equipment and services in Scotland, where consistent with European procurement rules”.

The Scottish Government expects it will allocate a similar budget to Westminster’s for the procurement of single use military equipment. Westminster allocated 14 per cent of its budget in 2012/2013.

It expects personnel numbers in Scottish defence forces to be lower initially and proposes to boost the proportion of the budget allocated to procurement during that period.

The government also plans to take forward the procurement of four new frigates, to be built on the Clyde, “preferably through joint procurement with the rest of the UK”.

The white paper added: “Recent Westminster decisions have demonstrated the importance of Scotland's shipbuilding industry to the Royal Navy. The Ministry of Defence has also shown it is keen to develop opportunities for joint procurement and there are strong reasons why both the Scottish and Westminster governments would want to explore the potential for joint procurement of future naval vessels.”

Further plans include prioritising procurement of maritime patrol aircraft within the first five years.

“Depending on negotiation with the rest of the UK on division of assets, further procurement needs will have to be addressed, including for offshore patrol vessels,” the white paper explained.

The referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September 2014.

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