Osborne commits £500m for Faslane’s future

1 Sep 15

More than £500m of funding has been committed to the Royal Navy’s submarine base at Faslane, home of the Trident nuclear weapons programme, Chancellor George Osborne announced.

The money will fund construction work on ship lifts, sea walls and jetties over the next ten years. The UK government said the work, which is due to begin in 2017, would secure 6,700 jobs and create thousands more.

Osborne said the funding demonstrated the government’s commitment to investing in the infrastructure and capability of the submarine, ensuring that Faslane remained the centre of UK operations for the next generation.

Faslane is the largest military establishment in Scotland, and alongside Portsmouth and Devonport is one of three major naval hubs.

It hosts around almost 7,000 military and civilian staff and contractors, expected to increase to around 8,200 by 2022 as more people move there.

In the summer Budget, Osborne pledged to maintain the NATO commitment to spend at least 2% of gross domestic product on defence.

“A strong and secure country is vital to both our prosperity and national security,” he said today.

“There will be thousands more jobs right here in Faslane, as well as across the UK supply chain.”

However, the Scottish National Party’s defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara criticised the chancellor’s decision to prioritise spending on nuclear weapons over spending on welfare and on Scotland’s conventional defence forces.

O’Hara said: “With the UK government facing a United Nations probe over its cuts to support for disabled people, George Osborne has his priorities all wrong.

“He should be defending the disabled, not his government’s indefensible decision to spend £100bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons – and this so-called investment in Faslane will directly support the deployment of Trident submarines.

“Indeed, George Osborne is essentially pre-empting a vote and actual decision on renewal of Trident.”

The Prospect union, which represents engineers and other technical and professional workers at Faslane, said the investment was welcome but that any new jobs should be permanent and high quality.

Negotiator Richard Hardy also highlighted threats to the terms and conditions of staff working at the base. “Clearly when you know your employer, whether in the public or private sector, is cutting your pension, and you’ve seen wages, in some cases, not match increases in the cost of living, it’s sometimes difficult to get excited about announcements like this,” he said.

“It’s down to the unions to make sure this inward investment benefits the local economy, and locally-based workers through the creation of high-quality, long-term employment.”

  • Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith Ugwumadu joined Public Finance International and Public Finance online as a reporter after stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express. Currently, she writes about public finance, public services and economics.

    Follow her on @JudithUgwumadu_

Did you enjoy this article?