Scotland to play ‘growing role in Britain's defence’ following budget increase, Alister Jack says

An increase to the defence budget was announced this week.

Alister Jack has claimed Scotland will play a “growing role in defence” as the industry welcomed this week’s increase in Government spending.

Rishi Sunak has committed to reaching 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, and spending an extra £75 billion more on defence over the next six years compared with existing levels.

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The pledge has now been welcomed by the Scotland Secretary, who said the investment showed the importance of Scotland to the nation’s defence.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack welcome the increase in defence spending.Scottish Secretary Alister Jack welcome the increase in defence spending.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack welcome the increase in defence spending.

Mr Jack told Scotland on Sunday: “Scotland is pivotal to British defence, with thousands of people employed in excellent jobs right across a supply chain worth billions.

“At this time of heightened global tension, and an illegal war in Ukraine sparked by Russia, I am confident Scotland will play a growing role as UK Government spending ramps up.

“Whether it’s warships built on the Clyde and Forth, missiles from Ayrshire, or radars from Edinburgh, Scottish workers are central to British efforts to deter aggression and promote security.”

Downing Street say the plan will cost £4.5 billion in 2028/29, of which £2.9bn would come from savings due to the reduction in the size of the civil service, with £1.6bn coming from the research and development budget.

The investment was also welcomed by ADS, a UK trade association focused on advancing leadership in aerospace, defence, security and space.

ADS Scotland Director Warrick Malcolm also welcomed the investment, describing the sector as “vital” to UK prosperity.

He said: “The unexpected formal commitment of an additional £75 billion for Defence spending by the Prime Minister this week that is welcome (if overdue). As our world gets increasingly more dangerous, this commitment to ensuring our collective security and the livelihoods of many throughout our country is necessary to our collective economic, social and national advantage.

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“That said, as we increasingly rush towards General Election season – whenever that may be – it is vital that the importance of our sectors is not taken for granted by politicians on all sides of the house. This follows comments by the Labour team that they, too, would aim to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent, among other commitments to protecting our at-sea deterrent.

“Our sectors are vital contributors to UK prosperity. We are dedicated to supporting industry, civil society and our armed forces to navigate an increasingly challenging geopolitical environment.”

Mr Malcom also praised the impact it would have on the economy, as well as the importance of the sector in Scotland.

ADS members announcing expansions in Scotland include Babcock, which has pledged to create 1,000 jobs in Rosyth, Rolls Royce which wants to create hundreds of nuclear submarine jobs, BAE Systems which is aiming for 300 jobs in Scotland, and Thales, which is creating more than 100 positions at its manufacturing site by the River Clyde in Glasgow.

He said: “In 2022, the ADS sectors directly employed 33,500 people in Scotland, including 1,500 apprentices.

SNP defence spokesperson Martin Docherty-Hughes last week claimed the government’s plans were not costed and would leave funding “black holes” in a host of other areas.

While supporting an increase, the West Dunbartonshire MP argued there was no plan and accused the Prime Minister of blatant “electioneering”.



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