Independent Scotland ‘will have to start from scratch’
SCOTLAND’S armed forces would have to start from scratch by recruiting their own troops and buying military equipment if voters back independence in the 2014 referendum, a defence academic has warned.
An independent Scotland could also face a multi- million pound bill if the UK government is forced to remove the Trident nuclear submarines from Faslane, according to Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute.
The Scottish academic insisted that if voters backed independence, the UK’s armed forces would keep its warships, planes and most of their armoured vehicles.
Prof Chalmers warned that the government of an independent Scotland would be left to recruit its own troops, with the country’s current regiments likely to remain part of the British Army.
He said that Scottish forces would face “building from scratch” to create what he claimed would be a military capability that was “more appropriate” to a nation with Scotland’s resources.
He said: “It will be cheaper to preserve [regimental] cap badges rather than army capabilities and they would have to invest in a headquarters and training facilities, as well as transport helicopters.”
Under the terms of a separation agreement, Scotland is likely to entitled to eight per cent of the military assets – the equivalent of its population and GDP to the rest of the UK.
However, with a military budget of less than £3 billion it would be unable to afford large warships or the Eurofighter Typhoon jets.
The SNP dismissed the claims from Prof Chalmers and said that the government of a independent Scotland would be able to “provide necessary military capabilities”.
A party spokesman said: “With independence we can reverse the decline that there has been in our conventional capabilities by Westminster.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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