Sunday, 14 July 2013

NO Campaign's Project Fear Rumbled Once Again - Cost of Ridding Scotland of Trident Just £150m


The No campaign’s Project Fear has been rumbled yet again today, after it was revealed that it would cost just £150m to get rid of Trident from Scotland.

Despite claims that the cost to decommission Faslane could run into ‘tens of billions’, today’s Sunday Herald reveals that the UK Government has previously put the cost for ridding an independent Scotland of Trident at £150m. To put this figure in context, this is significantly less than Scotland’s share of Trident’s running and replacement cost of £250m a year.

The No campaign’s claims on the cost on Trident are the latest in a series of scare stories to completely unravel, including:
  • That Scots mobile phone users would have to pay roaming charges to call England –even though the EU has voted to abolish roaming charges well ahead of the date of Scottish independence.
  • That the prospect of independence was deterring inward investment - when an Ernst & Young report found that the opposite appeared to be the case, with investment reaching a 15-year high.
  • That UK embassies would stop promoting whisky abroad - even though it was revealed they already charge £3000 a time to do so.
  • That Scotland would lose the giant pandas at Edinburgh zoo – even though a 10-year agreement has been signed.
Now even senior figures in the No campaign are questioning the strategy, with Jackson Carlaw describing some of the scare stories as ‘silly’ and Henry McLeish stating that the campaign was treating Scots like idiots.

This week the UK Government is expected to publish its long-awaited review into Trident alternatives – just two days before Westminster rises for its long summer recess – which would leave weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde for another 50 years.

The report will follow a week of controversy at Westminster after MoD sources claimed that they were working on a plan to annex Faslane as sovereign UK territory after Scottish independence in order to keep Trident based there. Downing Street were forced to issue a swift denial that any such plan was being considered.

Despite Downing Street’s denial, MoD sources were quoted in the Guardian as saying that the plan is ‘an option’. The Scottish National Party's Westminster leader and defence spokesperson Mr Angus Robertson MP has written to UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, demanding a full investigation into Ministry of Defence plans.

Commenting, Mr Robertson said:

“Another day, another scare story from the No campaign’s Project Fear is rumbled. They are rapidly becoming a laughing stock with their ever-more ridiculous claims falling apart under the slightest scrutiny.

“Instead of potentially running into tens of billions of pounds as was claimed this week, it would actually cost less than the amount Scotland is forced to pay each year to run and replace Trident.

"If we achieve a Yes vote next September, these figures underline that the UK Government would do well to follow the wise advice of Hans Blix and scrap Trident altogether, rather than waste money dumping it anywhere else."

Commenting on his letter to Philip Hammond, Mr Robertson said:

"The Tory government at Westminster and its helpers in the No campaign have run a mile from this crazy and offensive idea, but the people of Scotland are entitled to know where it came from in the first place.

"We know from media reports that someone in the MoD emailed the BBC last Wednesday night to say: 'The sovereign base area is an option. It is an interesting idea.'

"Westminster annexing Faslane can only have been considered an 'option' if work had been conducted within the MoD into this scenario, and presumably other scenarios that we don't yet know about.

"I am calling on Mr Hammond to mount a full investigation into who commissioned this work, whether any government minister approved it, which ministers were aware of it and when, and to give a commitment to make the findings public."

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