‘More dialogue’ needed urges Minister.
The UK Government must do more to support Scotland’s defence industry and military commitments says Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans Keith Brown.
Mr Brown addressed the Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry on defence matters in Scotland today (Monday) where he made a key pledge for greater engagement between Westminster and Holyrood.
With defence matters in sharp focus, Mr Brown urged the UK Government to outline how defence capability will be achieved with cuts to personnel numbers.
He also called for increased dialogue over defence industry spending, vital to the Scottish economy, supporting jobs across the country.
Mr Brown said:
“The Scottish Government welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry on defence in Scotland.
“While we recognise defence is fully reserved to the UK Government, decisions can have far reaching implications for forces personnel based in Scotland and for communities supported by the defence industry, in particular our small and medium sized enterprise sector, which we have an active role in supporting.
“It is vital at this time the UK Government outlines how defence capability will be achieved with cuts to personnel numbers and against a backdrop of funding concerns from the UK Parliament on how programmes critical to UK national defence are being delivered.
“That call for greater dialogue extends to our domestic defence industry, which is vital for Scottish jobs. It is hugely disappointing the Ministry of Defence’s £24 billion budget for next four years was published by the UK Government without the benefit of any discussions with the Scottish Government on how these decisions might impact Scotland.
“We also cannot continue to have what – in the words of the UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee – is a culture that ‘continually fails to learn from its mistakes’ and a ‘continued poor track record of programme delivery with wastage running into the billions’.”
Industry trade body ADS recently estimated Scottish defence industries have a £1.9 billion turnover and directly support 10,000 employees and 380 apprentices – the skilled workers of the future.
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