Faslane naval base will be bolstered with £500m of cash over the next decade after the chancellor George Osborne pledged to back the home of the Trident nuclear submarines in the latest ploy to boost his defence credentials.
Whilst the funding will not be directly spent on nukes much of it will be used to improve the naval base’s infrastructure, with money marked for ship lifts, sea walls, and jetties, among other things.
The Tory government sought to spin it as part of a commitment to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, granting the UK the obscure accolade of being “the only major world economy which meets both the Nato [military spending] target and the 0.7 percent on international aid target.”
Presumably shivering in Faslane at the time, Osbo said:
“Today’s announcement of more than £500 million demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to investing in the infrastructure and capability to ensure that Faslane remains the centre of UK submarine operations for the next generation.”
Conveniently forgetting that time Britain signed a security guarantee with Ukraine to get it to remove its nukes before shrugging as the Russians invaded it last year, the chancellor added:
“I’m proud to say that this government continues to recognise that our brave armed forces across Britain have always been resolute in defence of liberty and the promotion of stability around the world.”
Following Osbo’s announcement the Scottish Nats threw a hissy fit, its defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara MP condemning the chancellor for attempting to foist a decision on Trident without consulting parliament:
“George Osborne is essentially pre-empting a vote and actual decision on renewal of Trident.”
“There is something fundamentally wrong with Westminster’s values and priorities if the Chancellor thinks wasting billions on nuclear weapons is something to boast about when people are dying within our benefits system.”
Staff numbers at Faslane are expected to increase from 6,700 at present to 8,200 in 2022, with the £500m investment beginning in 2017. From 2020 all of the Royal Navy’s underwater capabilities are expected to be based at the facility.
The Tory government said the funding would be a boon for the supply chain of Britain’s “defence and security exports industry”, also known in English as “arms dealers”.
Last year Britain’s arms exports amounted to £12bn, giving the country the questionable distinction of being the second-largest arms dealer behind the gun nuts of America, according to the government, which is seemingly proud of the fact.
Image Credit – Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious, April 2013 by the Ministry of Defence