The Tories at Westminster have admitted to breaking the promise they made during the ‘Better Together’ campaign to increase the number of defence personnel in Scotland by 2020.
In 2013, Philip Hammond, as Defence Secretary during the Scottish Independence referendum campaign, made a commitment to increase the number of defence personnel to 12,500 – 9.2% of the UK total – by 2020.
At the time the promise was made, there were 10,600 defence personnel in Scotland and currently, the total is 9680 – 7.1% of the UK total. Not only has the target not been reached, the number has decreased.
On Wednesday, after questioning from SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes in the Defence Committee, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admitted that the UK government had broken its commitment to Scotland. When Mr Docherty-Hughes pointed out that the target had been missed by at least 2%, Mr Wallace responded that it is still the UK government’s “intention to continue to invest in Scotland.”
The SNP has said that this broken commitment is yet another in a long list of broken promises by the UK Tory government:
- After being told by the Tory Westminster government in 2014 that the way to protect Scotland’s place in Europe was to vote No, we now find ourselves potentially being dragged out of the EU against our will.
- In the run up to the Scottish independence referendum, the Better Together campaign said jobs in shipyards would be under threat if there was a Yes vote but in 2015, the UK Government announced they would reduce the number of frigates from thirteen to eight.
- Before the referendum it was claimed that, within the UK, HMRC delivered a ‘jobs dividend’ in Scotland. The UK Government has since announced closure of HMRC offices – risking over 2,000 Scottish jobs.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“We are in a situation now where, although devastated, I’m not even surprised when the Tories at Westminster renege on promises made to Scotland because it just keeps happening – this broken commitment to increase defence personnel in Scotland by 2020 is just another in a long list of Tory broken promises.
“Not only have they not kept their promise, the Tories have gone backwards and reduced the number of personnel, falling far short of the ‘more than our fair share’ that was promised by Philip Hammond six years ago.
“The Tories at Westminster have broken promises to Scotland left, right and centre including remaining part of the EU and protecting jobs – it is no wonder that more and more people in Scotland are opening up to the opportunities of independence.
“It is now beyond doubt, that the only way to protect Scotland and its people, and allow it to prosper further, is for the country to be an independent member of the EU. Otherwise, we will continue to be disappointed and devastated by broken promises and harmful policies we didn’t vote for.”