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Independent Scotland Would Lose Defense Jobs, Report Says

Apr. 8, 2013 - 06:21AM   |  
By ANDREW CHUTER   |   Comments
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Thousands of jobs could be lost in the Scottish defense industry if the country votes for separation from the rest of the United Kingdom, according to a parliamentary committee report.

The majority of the 15,000 jobs in the sector and 2 billion pounds in annual revenues would be threatened by a yes vote in a referendum set for 2014, the U.K. Parliament’s Scottish Affairs committee said in a report released Monday.

The ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) in the devolved regional government in Scotland is campaigning to make the country independent from the rest of the U.K. for the first time since 1707. All the other major political parties in Scotland and the U.K. oppose the idea, and opinion polls so far favor continuation of the union with England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The committee said that with an annual defense budget in the region of only 2.5 billion pounds a year and a procurement spend of around 1 billion pounds, the independent Scottish market would be negligible.

BAE Systems, Babcock, Raytheon, Selex and Thales number among the major defense employers in Scotland that would be affected by a split, the report said.

Research spending of between just 20 million and 30 million pounds a year would be insufficient to sustain leading-edge technology locally, said the committee.

Companies dependent on the British military for orders would transfer the work to sites remaining in the U.K., said the Parliamentarians.

“No job in the Scottish defense industry will be safe under separation. We have been unable to identify any job gain which will flow from Scotland breaking away from the U.K. but thousands which will be lost and thousands more which will be put at risk,” said Ian Davidson, the committee’s chairman.

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