Baillie discovers SNP has no plan for thousands of workers at Faslane and Coulport

Plan T for the Trident bases at Faslane and Coulport in Argyll seems as absent as Plan B for the country’s currency, according to local MSP, Jackie Bailli, who says that a vote for independence is a vote to send thousands of local people to the dole queue.

This statement comes after the SNP refused yesterday, 6th August, to guarantee the jobs of those working at Faslane and Coulport.

11,000 jobs in total depend on the base. 6,700 [from Scotland’s Future, The Scottish Government, p. 483] people are directly employed by the Ministry of Defence and its contractors; with a further 4,500 [from EKOS report on economic contribution of the Royal Navy] provided through the supply chain.

However the SNP’s White Paper states that only 2,000 people would be employed by an independent Scotland’s Navy at Faslane [from Scotland’s Future, The Scottish Government, p. 239].

Speaking during a debate at Holyrood, Jackie Baillie asked Keith Brown MSP to confirm how many naval jobs would be provided at Faslane.

The SNP Veterans Minister avoided the question by referring to ‘military’ jobs instead.

Jackie Baillie says: ‘ Today the nationalists wanted to use Trident as a distraction to divert our attention from Alex Salmond’s poor performance in the TV debate and complete failure to give Scots a straight answer over what currency we would use if we leave the UK.

‘But instead they let their guard slip.

‘I wanted to know what would happen to jobs of the 6,700 Royal Navy personnel and their support staff in my constituency if we vote for separation. So why did the SNP refuse to admit that their own proposals, as published in the White Paper, would involve only 2000 naval jobs?

‘It’s clear that they have no plans for the thousands of other people working at the base now and those employed through the supply chain. These are well-paid and highly-specialised jobs and people in Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh won’t stand by while Alex Salmond throws them on the scrap heap.

‘Coming in the same week as defence giant Babcock demolished the SNP’s unworkable plans for a conventional base and warned that job losses at Faslane are likely, it is now absolutely clear that only a No vote on September 18 can save jobs at the base.

Jackie Baillie’s speech – and exchanges – at the Scottish Parliament

Jackie Baillie Dumbarton] [Lab]: ‘I am not naturally a cynic—[Laughter.] It would appear that the members of the front bench disagree.

‘However, I suspect that much of our time in the next few weeks will be spent debating issues that are the UK Parliament’s responsibility, all in an attempt to further the cause of the SNP’s campaign for independence.

‘Might I suggest to SNP members as gently as I can that, after the First Minister’s performance last night, they might want to have a debate about currency? After all, the people of Scotland deserve answers to that most fundamental of questions.

‘That said, I fully understand and sympathise with the SNP’s clear need to create a diversion. It is the oldest political tactic in the book – create a distraction and debate anything but the issue of the day, which is currency.

‘However, the people of Scotland were not fooled last night and they will not be fooled in the future, so let us have the transparency SNP members have been calling for in this debate. Let us clear the parliamentary diary to have a debate on currency because I think that people would welcome that.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: ‘However, the debate today is about Trident.’

Jackie Baillie: ‘Let me turn to Trident, Presiding Officer. My timing is impeccable. I have always acknowledged that there are many different views in this chamber – across parties and even within parties. However, wherever we stand—as a unilateralist or a multilateralist – we have a responsibility to consider the consequences of our actions.

‘Members have heard me speak before about the economic impact on Faslane and Coulport and I make no apology for doing so again.

‘At the moment, 11,000 jobs depend on the base. There are 6,700 employed directly at Faslane and Coulport – that is the most up-to-date figure supplied by the MOD – and there are a further 4,500 jobs in the supply chain, using standard income multipliers for local economic impact.’

Patrick Harvie: ‘Will the member give way?’

Jackie Baillie: ‘I want people to hear this because it is constantly questioned.

‘The base provides £270 million a year spend in the local area. I have not made these figures up. They are sourced from the EKOS survey done for Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire about the economic impact of the base.

‘Because of the decision of the UK Government to make Faslane the base for the entire UK submarine fleet, the number directly employed is expected to rise to 8,200 by 2022.

‘I am used to the cybernats hurling abuse at me on Twitter and I am used to members in the chamber trying to shout me down – the members of the front bench did it again today.

‘However, there is no getting away from those figures. They are facts. We are talking about real people who deserve to know whether they will have jobs if Scotland becomes independent. My local community needs to know what the likely impact will be. The jobs at Faslane are not low-paid, minimum-wage jobs. The people there are highly skilled workers, on good salaries.

‘They account for one quarter of the full-time workforce in West Dunbartonshire. Their loss would have a devastating impact on the local economy.

‘The SNP claimed that only 500 jobs are at stake. Then the figure doubled, to 1,000.

‘However, the reality is that there would not be a strategic need for the base, as currently configured.

‘Angus Robertson, the SNP’s defence spokesman, consistently refused to guarantee that the number of jobs that would be retained after separation would remain the same. [I will come back to Keith Brown in a minute].

‘John Swinney slashed the budget for defence by more than a third, more than using up any notional savings from Trident.

‘At the same time, while ministers promise extra spending on health and education, the reality is that the budget is slashed and it is all going on conventional defence, according to Angus Robertson and according to Alex Salmond himself,in his October 2012 conference speech.

‘The truth is that the SNP has not got a clue.’

Keith Brown: ‘Will the member give way? ‘

Jackie Baillie: ‘In a minute.

‘It is interesting that Stuart Crawford, a defence consultant to whom the SNP used to pay attention, until he jumped ship to the Liberals, has said that Faslane would sustain only 1,000 jobs in the future.

‘So what precisely are the SNP’s plans for the other 10,000? Are they simply to be thrown on the scrapheap? Do they not matter in an independent Scotland?’

Keith Brown: ‘So far, we have heard four different figures for the number of jobs at Faslane from the different parts of the Better Together campaign. Could she explain that? Will she acknowledge the STUC’s estimate of 1,536 jobs sustained by Trident? Surely, if she is going to peddle a scare story, she should get it right with her colleagues. ‘

Jackie Baillie: ‘I am not peddling a scare story. I have been consistent for 15 years about the economic impact at Faslane.

‘The SNP seeks to cloud that because it has no answers on jobs. To give it some credit, we can now examine some of its proposals. I understand why it has not told us about them before now because, on even the most cursory inspection, they fall apart.

‘I asked the minister how many naval jobs would be provided. I was told that it would be the same – 6,700, rising to 8,200.

‘However, page 239 of the White Paper simply says 2,000.

‘Where are the other 4,500 to 6,000?

‘I am happy to give way to the minister if he can tell me where those jobs are.’

The Deputy Presiding Officer: Can all sides conduct the debate through the chair, please?’

Keith Brown: ‘I will respond by saying what I said to Jackie Baillie before, which is that we would guarantee the same number of military jobs at Faslane.

‘However, she must reconcile all the different figures that her colleagues have given.

‘We have heard four different figures. We have heard figures of 8,000, 11,000 and 6,000 – which is right?

Jackie Baillie: ‘I asked about naval jobs. There are naval jobs at Faslane.

‘The minister replied about military jobs. He is going to put those people on the scrapheap. Under the SNP’s proposals, we discover that Faslane is not a conventional naval base. I could have told you that.

‘It will take 10 years to reconfigure so, from the outset.

‘Five of the 13 or so vessels that make up the Scottish navy will not be able to dock there.

‘There will be no submarines, and experts say that we are unlikely to get any offshore protection vessels.

‘We have two frigates. We hear that we could order another two. That is interesting. What frigates will the SNP build, because the intellectual property rights for the existing ones belong to the rest of the UK – a minor but important detail?

‘Further, an international traffic in arms regulations licence is required from the USA to use any defence equipment – even a bolt or a screw – that originates in that country.

‘Does the SNP even know what an ITAR licence is? Has it even made inquiries about how long that would take?

‘We are told that the SNP would commission the frigates in the first Parliament after independence.

‘Two years to negotiate separation and a possible further four years before the order is placed means that, potentially, it could be six years before the shipyards get anything to build. What do they do in the meantime? Twiddle their thumbs?

‘I am told that it takes a year to build a frigate. I am also told that a frigate lasts for 30 to 40 years.

‘Even if the Scottish Government replaces every single ship in the first few years, a Scottish navy will not sustain Scottish shipbuilding.

‘The ministers are laughing. They should listen, not only to me but to those who work in the industry: Babcock’s, BAE Systems, the trade unions and the workers at Rosyth and at Faslane and on the Clyde. They are the experts and, to be
frank, they think that the SNP’s plans are just plain daft.

‘Our ambition is to rid the world of nuclear weapons – to achieve global zero. The ultimate objective is shared but the mechanism by which we go about it is certainly not shared.

‘The SNP is simply using Trident to win a vote to separate Scotland from the United Kingdom. It is not serious.’

Editor’s Note: What is serious is the behaviour of front bench SNP Ministers that the parliamentary transcript above records. As it shows, Jackie Baillie experienced them today using the unedifying  tactic developed to an extreme by First Minister, Alex Salmond at First Minister’s Questions – shouting people down and, with his immediate front bench cronies of Sturgeon, Swinney and Russell, rolling about in their chairs laughing at them – while they are raising serious but uncomfortable issues.

Yet, only yesterday, a bruised Alex Salmond, following Tuesday night;s televised debate with Alastair darling, complained to the BBC that Mr Darling had ‘shouted and pointed’ during the debate where, he, the First Minister knows that to win a debate you need to have a rational discussion n a range of issues. This piety will have come as a shock to those who weekly see the First Mister in action in the chamber – in what we call ‘the bawlfest’ he conducts to roar into obliteration the material concerns  raised by the leaders of the opposition parties, two of them women.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • You just couldn’t make it up!

    So, we now know that the SNP have no plans for the thousands of civilians currently working at Fasflane and who will lose their jobs if Scotland becomes independent. However, there’s no need to worry, the SNP will increase benefits so that all those who may be affected can relax and continue to enjoy life in their usual manner. Of course, the rest of us, who continue working, will have to pay massively increased taxes to pay for it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 4

    Lowry August 7, 2014 6:35 pm Reply
  • I’m surprised it’s taken so long for someone to point out the obvious, but maybe politicians are wary of being seen to raise the economic importance of Faslane and Coulport for fear of accusations of promoting armageddon.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

    Robert Wakeham August 7, 2014 6:35 pm Reply
  • Well done Jackie Baillie, the real truth is the people employed at both locations do not feature in the SNP plans, they will be on the scrap heap along with their families and all the other people in the area.
    Remember Mr Brown, Russia and China Nuclear Alliance!
    How many more blatant lies are going to surface?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

    richard August 7, 2014 6:38 pm Reply
  • Would one be correct to conclude that the world will end if Scotland votes Yes.

    With a reported 1,000,000 people queuing to leave along with every major industry heading south, we should listen to Jackies dire predictions.

    Of course if we vote no, Westminster will look after us with lavish pensions, bountiful jobs, a fully funded non privatised NHS, and no Austerity.

    Ah, will this pleasure never end. Well will it?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 20

    willie August 7, 2014 9:27 pm Reply
    • Willie, Let’s just say it is a Yes vote, Mr Brown wants negotiations to remove Trident and any nuclear warheads removed from Scotland ASAP.
      What is going to happen to the people who work there?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

      richard August 7, 2014 9:41 pm Reply
      • They do what the rest of us do, get on their bike.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

        Murdoch MacKenzie August 7, 2014 10:52 pm Reply
        • That’s a very glib answer, I have had to work all over the world but that’s my choice, not easy when you have family and commitments.
          But I take it that this is an acceptable price to pay for Independence.
          Why all the screaming about Grangemouth being closed?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

          richard August 7, 2014 11:13 pm Reply
          • Glib? Tell that to the miners, the steelworkers and all the other Scottish Industries trashed by Westminster. At least the Faslane workers will be helped by the Scottish Government to career change, not given GBH by Westminster’s bussed in Met Police thugs.
            That’s just recent history, it runs back at least two hundred years in my family and very many others.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

            Murdoch MacKenzie August 8, 2014 2:08 pm
          • I can’t find any information where the Scottish Govt. has stated that help towards a change in career will be given to all those who lose jobs due to independence. Can you point me to the documents please?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

            Lowry August 8, 2014 2:13 pm
          • Murdoch,

            I posted the statistics I’ve copied into the paras below back in January to add emphasis to similar comments you made then. England had four times Scotland’s population at the time of the Union; it’s now ten times ours. For many millions of Scots families, the union dividend has been a one-way ticket to the other side of the world.

            “From 1841 to 1931, the total lost to emigration from Scotland was 2.75 million, more than half our current population. Between 1921 and 1930 alone, 550,000 people left Scotland. That included one fifth of the total working population and was a greater proportion lost than for any other country in Europe.

            Things were little better after WW2, with the average loss being about 30,000 per year right through until the 1980s and back up to being as high as 50,000 per year in the 60s – the population of Edinburgh lost in a decade. Adding it all up – over a million Scots gone since WW2, this time a great proportion of whom were highly educated and with university degrees paid for by us.”

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

            pm August 8, 2014 2:33 pm
          • It may be that some see Faslane workers as a higher class than the hard working, highly trained Scots scattered to the winds from the industries I mentioned.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

            Murdoch MacKenzie August 8, 2014 3:02 pm
  • Labour crocodile tears for Clyde shipbuilding are very hard to take seriously; the workers were led a merry dance over 13 years of stop-go nonsense which offered little prospect of steady employment and cost the taxpayer dearly in greater build costs for frigates, destroyers and the spinning bow tie extravaganza that is the carrier programme.

    Doubtless if the SNP were daft enough to commit to guaranteeing every job in Faslane she’d moan about the cost.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 17

    db August 7, 2014 9:49 pm Reply
    • db, forget about the past, what will happen to all these people when Trident goes?
      From what you say I assume you don’t work there or live in the area!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

      richard August 7, 2014 10:07 pm Reply
      • I do live in the area and many of my friends work there; it’s likely that an independent Scotland would not need Faslane with a workforce anywhere near as large as it is today, certainly not solely for a coastal patrol force. We should just keep the place open as a form of subsidy like British Leyland? I’d like my taxes better spent than that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

        db August 7, 2014 10:22 pm Reply
        • So basically they are on the social scrapheap, with all the knock on effects?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

          richard August 7, 2014 10:33 pm Reply
          • They can either follow Trident to it’s new home or get other jobs. Some of us have done that all our lives, I sat in one plane for over ten hours last night coming home from my work, with another six hours travelling after that.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

            Murdoch MacKenzie August 7, 2014 11:04 pm
        • Coastal patrol vessels are very low tech compared with the larger RN vessels and submarines. How many people are employed in maintaining the SFPA vessels, probably gives an idea of the scale of the operation.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

          Lundavra August 8, 2014 12:42 am Reply
    • DB, as most of us know, the SNP could not care a toss about the shipyard workers on the Clyde. As far as the SNP are concerned, they will be collateral damage in the fight for separation. Nothing else matters as long as Vladimir Salmond and his Edinburgh cronies achieve their life long aim of separation from Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
      Nothing else matters to the SNP. Even if our country goes down the pan, they will be happy as they will have turned Scotland into a foreign country as far as the other UK countries are concerned.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

      Sceptic1 August 7, 2014 11:10 pm Reply
      • It would appear a lot of people on here don’t care about the cost of closure, the welfare costs will rocket after independence, let’s hope that’s been costed into the equation!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

        richard August 7, 2014 11:24 pm Reply
  • Mince!

    Jackie Baillie has known all along that 85% of a service personnel don’t live in our area but have their homes south of the Border. We lose at least £64000000 each year to our local economy as a result.

    Helensburgh’s population has dropped by 2000 in ten years.

    There hasn’t been any major housing for 40 years. House prices are about 15% less than the same on Bearsden. A few years ago they were similar prices.

    The Base and Jackie don’t work for Helensburgh.

    At public meetings the base naval bigwigs and Tory councillor Gary Mulvaney have admitted the problem.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 17

    Graeme McCormick August 7, 2014 10:11 pm Reply
    • Graeme, you posted all that a few weeks ago, just answer the question What is going to happen to all the people employed at the two sites? Not just Military!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

      richard August 7, 2014 10:20 pm Reply
    • Graeme, you do talk a load of absolute rubbish. We know that Faslane supports 11,000 jobs (direct and indirect) with another 2,000 on the way. We also know that the SNP do not want to get rid of only the four Trident submarines. It has been confirmed by your pal Bill Kidd MSP and CND big wigs that they intend getting rid of all 17 nuclear powered submarines although you and your SNP pals try to keep that quiet.
      We know that in the unlikely even that there was a Yes vote, that only 1,000 jobs would be required at Faslane to support the mini defence forces / Dad’ Army that the SNP propose under independence. This has been confirmed by Professor Philips O’Brien, a well respected defence expert based in Glasgow.
      Time that you and your SNP bosses based in Edinburgh started telling the truth for a change.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

      Sceptic1 August 7, 2014 11:22 pm Reply
      • That will happen after the event, the cracks are starting to show.
        Someone will kiss and tell!

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

        richard August 7, 2014 11:27 pm Reply
  • Shipbuilding on the Clyde has followed a relentless decline over the last thirty years.

    Look at Dumbarton, Jackie Baillie’s home town where the economic decline has been absolutely huge.

    Maybe Jackie can explain why her home town now has some of the most worst economic and social statistics in the whole of the UK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

    willie August 8, 2014 2:21 pm Reply
    • Willie, its to keep her in a job, the North British New Labour Party have been using this successful tactics for decades.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

      John Sinclair August 8, 2014 2:31 pm Reply
    • Could it be because the SNP have been governing Scotland for the last 7 years?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

      Lowry August 8, 2014 2:36 pm Reply
  • If you think the loss of shipbuilding was bad, you need to read this:

    Try starting with the last sentence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    Lowry August 8, 2014 2:30 pm Reply
    • Shipbuilding was only lost in a UK run Scotland. It still thrives in many small nations and there is no reason why it cannot be re-born in an Independent Scotland.
      Scotland has the location, the deep water ports waiting to be developed, the ships needing to be built and crewed to bring the worlds trade through here, the proven most economic route to and from Northern Europe to all the world, proven facts never mentioned by Gordon Brown as he personally praised the use of Arab oil money to build and own Britain’s gateway in the Thames. A traitor to his country and it’s people.
      Only a free Scotland can compete on a level footing. Nobody in London will ever assist us and your link is just more of the trashing that Scots have to battle against all their lives.
      Scotland has the wealth and the people that will make it great again once the levers of power come back home.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

      Murdoch MacKenzie August 8, 2014 3:35 pm Reply
      • I’m not convinced that Gordon Brown destroyed Clyde shipbuilding – that’s just playing the blame game, there’s surely a lot more to it, inside and outside politics.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        Robert Wakeham August 8, 2014 4:29 pm Reply
        • I don’t think I said that. Gordon Brown championed the investment of Arab Oil money to dredge the Thames and build London Gateway, when he should have been directing Scottish Oil money to build the Scapa transhipment terminal.
          We need to develop this port and build and crew the ships that will provide its efficient services.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

          Murdoch MacKenzie August 8, 2014 5:06 pm Reply
          • Murdoch, setting aside my views of Mr Brown I think you have to take into account who identified the site and their reasons, obviously one of those being the proximity to London. The fact that the Government at that time put incentives up and if your correct paid for the dredging was a political and commercial decision.
            You can make a similar case regarding the guarantees put up by Westminster to Ineos (Grangemouth) allowing them to build facilities to import shale gas.
            Interestingly I seem to recall that Mr Brown and the government refused to assist Ineos when it requested an extension on the tax repayment timescale due to cash flow problems. The outcome was as we all know the company relocated to Switzerland.
            Incentives, subsidies and tax breaks should only be given on the basis of long term investment and employment plans, not as we have seen in the past of grab the subsidies then shut up shop and move on to the next deal in whatever country.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

            richard August 8, 2014 6:53 pm

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