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SNP's independence plans put future of Rosyth dockyard at risk

October 22, 2013 5:41 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Sir Menzies Campbell MP has said that the SNP's independence plans putMenzies CampbellMenzies Campbell the future of Rosyth dockyard at risk.

Ahead of the Dunfermline by-election the former Liberal Democrat leader said that Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for Scotland to remain in the UK.

Unions have already claimed that independence could be "catastrophic" for Rosyth as without the contracts for refitting Royal Navy ships and building aircraft carriers.

Sir Menzies Campbell has said that the aircraft carriers would most likely not return to Rosyth dockyard for refitting if Scotland opts for the SNP's independence plans. A recent UK Government Scotland Analysis Paper on Defence noted that the UK has the fourth largest defence budget in the world and is the second largest defence exporter in the UK.

Existing MOD plans include the utilisation of the dockyard to carry out the major work of refitting the super carriers. But if Scotland separates from the UK the MOD will be forced to choose an English, Welsh or Northern Irish yard to ensure security around the 65k tonne boats. The SNP have yet to set out how they would guarantee the security of the 2,000 jobs directly linked to the aircraft carrier programme.

Commenting, Sir Menzies Campbell said:

"Rosyth Dockyard is proud to be constructing and commissioning the largest warships ever built for Royal Navy, as I have seen for myself at first hand. But we want those ships to return for refit with the continuing economic advantages it would bring to Fife. Rosyth is well placed to get those orders with the deep water basin and docking facility. But the SNP's independence plans put the future of Rosyth at risk.

"If the nationalists win the referendum and Scotland separates from the UK the yard will inevitably be excluded from that work. For security and political reasons the Royal Navy will carry out the refits at a yard in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

"The result would be the loss of multi-million pound contracts and thousands of jobs. The SNP have failed to set out how they would support the defence industry at Rosyth in spite of being called upon to do so. While the SNP have chosen to keep quiet on independence during the Dunfermline by-election, Scottish Liberal Democrats are making a clear case for a building stronger Scotland within the UK."

By election candidate Susan Leslie added:

"The SNP have kept quiet about independence on the doorsteps but their independence plans put the future of the important Rosyth dockyards at risk. The people of Dunfermline deserve answers."