Scotland’s defence on a tight budget

A LEADING academic has warned that an independent Scotland would have one of the smallest defence budgets in Europe but face “severe set-up costs”.

A LEADING academic has warned that an independent Scotland would have one of the smallest defence budgets in Europe but face “severe set-up costs”.

In a submission to the Commons defence select committee’s inquiry on the effects of Scottish independence, Dr Michael Williams, reader in international relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, also claimed that Trident would still be based in Scotland after independence.

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He wrote: “Due to the sheer impossibility of re-locating the assets at Faslane in the near term (if ever), a condition of Scottish independence will need to be long-term basing rights of the UK fleet in Faslane.”

In terms of setting up a Scottish military, he warned of “severe costs of establishing military command and control structures, capabilities as well as intelligence assets”.

He said: “If Scotland spent 1.4 per cent of the GDP on defence the budget would be approximately £1.7 to £2 billion. This would make Scotland among the smallest defence spenders in Europe. While it is possible for many nations to run on small budgets, this discounts the significant start-up costs and independent Scotland will incur.”