Scotland’s SMEs ‘shortchanged’ by Westminster

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers. Picture: PA
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers. Picture: PA
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NEW figures have revealed small and medium sized companies in Scotland get less than 40 per cent of their population share of direct contracts from the Ministry of Defence.

The row has erupted as the UK government prepares for the naming today of the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, which was partly built at Rosyth and on the Clyde, highlighting it as one of the benefits of Scotland staying in the UK.

In a written answer, defence minister Philip Dunne admitted that just £102 million worth of contracts were awarded to Scottish SMEs, a mere 38 per cent of what Scotland’s population share of contract values would be worth which would amount to £264m.

The figures also show SME contracts were concentrated in the south of England with £403m of contracts in the south-east, 28 per cent of the total, and £247m to the south-west which has roughly the same population size as Scotland.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said the MoD had been “caught red-handed”. He said: “These figures starkly indicate what we already know – that small and medium sized companies in Scotland are being short-changed by Westminster.”

But the MoD insisted that the direct contracts with small and medium sized companies do not present a full picture because it excludes the ones awarded by major contractors such as BAe systems which is building the carriers, destroyers and frigates.

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