“Independence will lead to big job losses at Faslane and West Dunbartonshire”. No, it won’t.
With it’s location it’s almost certain Faslane would be Scotland’s main naval base with the same or greater employment at the base, through the supply chain and the local economy.
At a glance
As part of the UK: SSBNs, MCMs and patrol boats at Faslane total 14 vessels now. With the SSNs in 2020 – 21. 3 MCM decomissioned (by 2025) down to 18 vessels.
As Independent Scotland: navy minimum 20 vessels with 50% more footprint, over half the tonnage, only about 16% less complement (crew), the base itself would need to be same size and jobs just for the navy. That doesn’t include onshore training, marines, army amphib, or as the SDF HQ. Neither case includes small support vessels – tugs etc.
10th Oct 2017 – this is a draft page, based on data, but not as a definitive source!
No Type Complement Tonnes length beam area Current fleet (2017) 4 Vanguard SSBN 135 15,900 149.9m 12.8m 1920 7 Sandown MCM 34 600 52.5m 10.9m 570 3 Archer Patrol 12 54 20.8m 5.8m 120 Total (2017) 800 +Future fleet (2020) 7 Astute SSN 98 7,200 97.0m 11.3m 1100 -Decommission 3 Sandown (by 2025) -3 Sandown MCM -34 -600 -570 18 Total (2025) 1400 120,000 20,000 sq mts
From Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire EKOS report (2017 ?) + MOD for Trident only
Trident civilian employees 520 RN Personnel 3,500 Contractors 1,700 Other civilians 1,600 Supply chain and economy 4,000 Extra for Astute from 2020 1,700
Faslane is also a NATO support base and home to Joint Warrior. Note that though Faslane is their home port, 2 Sandown are based in Bahrain on a 3 year cycle (with 2 Hunt from Portsmouth), and 3 are expected to be decommissioned by 2025.
Cost and benefit (from EKOS)
Scotland’s ‘share’ of Trident is around £163 million a year and the annual spend generated by the base in the local area and the wider region is estimated to be more than £270 million per year, including spending by the 6,500 personnel based at Faslane in the local economy, and 4,000 jobs through the supply chain and local economy. [Note that this is presumably based on the current Faslane fleet]
Illustrative SDF (Scottish Defence Force), based loosely for numbers on 2/3rd Denmark’s current fleet, Denmark having 5.7 million population compared to Scotland at 5.4 million, but roughly a 25% higher GDP. Also on Norway. The likes of dredgers, tugs, tenders and pilots are not included in either list.
No Type Complement Tonnes length beam area 4 Frigates 150 6,500 140.0m 20.0m 2800 1 Lg Deck amphib 160 15,000 170.0m 32.0m 5440 4 OPV 20 2,000 90.0m 13.0m 1170 3 Patrol 12 250 45.0m 8.0m 360 5 MCM 30 600 52.5m 10.9m 570 1 Auxiliary 110 15,000 160.0m 23.0m 3680 1 Survey 10 100 30.0m 6.5m 190 1 Training ship 20 100 20 Totals 1,170 68,000 30,000 sq mts
Note that there’s a need for MCM for NATO standing groups, but if the frigates or OPVs had an MCM capability there would be a specialist complement increase on them, with a vessel and their complement drop, as no more than 2 or 3 MCMs would be needed.
It’s also likely Faslane + Coulport would be the HQ for the SDF, with army with amphib based around, and this rough guide includes no Subs, unlike Norway. Plus marines.
There would be a transitional stage of perhaps 10 years while the SSBNs moved elsewhere in the UK, so some overlapping would make employment levels higher or at least the same, and with the 3 Sandowns planned to be gone by 2025, direct navy comparisons once the Royal Navy is completely gone are therefore 1,400 complement on 18 vessels with Scotland in the UK, compared to 1,170 on 20 with the SDF.
So basically there’s about 16% less complement, but 20 vessels instead of 18. So taking into account that the base is still the base, supplies are still supplies, guards, police, gardeners, decorators, concessions on base, accomodation and cleaners, you’d see at most a 10% drop using complement (crew) and vessels as a basis, and non-proportional overheads, and more like 5% or even no drop.
The conclusion is that, overall, employment and economic benefit would not be affected long-term for purely naval operations from the upscaled 2020/2025 position, but during transition of Faslane from SSBN to conventional SDF, would likely be considerably higher, including contracted construction to adapt the base. The SDF HQ and army amphib involvement would increase the level overall in the area, even taking into account the planned move of the SSNs to Faslane, and then away again.