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We're a group for those within Scotland's 'SIGNING' Community who believe in Independence and want to fully participate in the referendum debate. We are open to everyone who is interested in promoting BSL, from those who use the language as their primary form of communication, to learners and well-wishers.
How much for a Voltron? - The Scottish Defence Force
I’ve probably revealed my age with the title of this post,
but how much should it cost to defend Scotland?
There are three answers:The
amount that Westminster charges us now
amount that similar countries pay
amount we want
Scotland contributes 9.6% of total UK tax revenue, so 9.6%
of UK military spending is paid for by us either directly or through debt.This equates to £3,200,000,000 (£3.2 billion)
per year, or 2.5% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).Not all of this spending is actually
defensive.Beyond Trident (the UK’s
nuclear armed fleet of submarines) there has been £2 billion spent on military
drones and unmanned aircraft (with £2 billion more expected) and £5.2 billion
on aircraft carriers which have little defensive value and which the UK can’t
afford to put aircraft on.
"Voltron, defender of the universe, won't want to defend Scotland unless she hosts nuclear weapons!" - Better Together statement.
Military spending is also uneven.The UK spends £1,244 per head on defence in
the Southwest of England, but only £302 per head in Scotland.Military contracts are also disproportionate,
with Scottish firms receiving less than our share.There are 11,190 military personnel based in
Scotland, compared to the UK armed forces total of 186,400.
So how much do similar countries pay?
Norway spends £3,821,500,000 (£3.8 billion) or 1.6% of GDP
Denmark spends £2,528,340,000 (£2.5 billion) or 1.4% of GDP
Ireland spends £1,101,150,000 (£1.1 billion) or 0.6% of GDP
Sweden spends £3,230,130,000 (£3.2 billion) or 1.2% of GDP
Switzerland spends £2,823,900,000 (£2.8 billion) or 0.8% of
GDP [22,059 personnel]
Finland spends £2,288,420,000 (£2.2 billion) or 1.5% of GDP
So the amount Scotland would pay if we were like our
European neighbours would be £2 billion (1.2% of GDP).Of course, being independent we would see
much more of this money remaining in Scotland and aimed at actually defending
The biggest threat currently posed to an independent Scotland.
But the status quo and the same as those like us aren’t the
only options.If we want to maintain a
substantial military budget, then we can (we’re paying for one at the
moment!)If we want a modest defence
force, then that’s possible too and if we want something in between, then there
will be political parties who will advocate that position.
Scotland's defence will be much simplier once it is focused on conventional forces and equipment. Trident, which failed to prevent the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, drains our resources and distracts our attention. It is a weapon which the people of Scotland are opposed to, and with a Yes vote in 2014, it will be gone.
With independence we get the choice of how much we want to
pay for defence, enough for our own Voltron if we so liked, but more
importantly, we will have a defence that is focused upon defending us, which
cannot be said of the UK at present.