The Scottish Affairs Committee at the House of Commons has concluded that HM Naval Base in Clyde, Scotland, could close and with loss the of more than 8,000 jobs should Scotland vote for independence in Autumn 2014.
There are no current plans for the UK’s nuclear submarines base in Clyde to close, but the committee produced a report stating that “If the result of the referendum on Scottish independence were to lead to the current situation being challenged, then other options would be considered.”
Her Majesty’s Naval Base in Clyde is already the largest employment site in Scotland with around 6,700 military and civilian jobs, a figure set to increase to around 8,200 by 2022.
The rise in the number of jobs over the next decade accompanies the move to base all Royal Navy submarines on the Clyde to achieve economies of scale and build a stronger base of submarine contractors.
“It is for the Scottish Government to explain how this quality and quantity of employment in the region would be matched if the enterprise had to be relocated,” said the committee.
An alternative solution to the Clyde naval base would come at huge cost to the UK Government.
The site underwent a significant investment programme to prepare it for the introduction of the Vanguard Class submarines built by BAE Systems and a Trident missile system that would cost in the region of £3.5bn at today’s prices.
The committee stated that “Any replication of facilities would cost at least that much and probably more. Since the collocation benefits would be required in any alternative location, there would be no question but that the entirety of the submarine enterprise on the Clyde would be relocated.”
A spokesperson from BAE Systems, which has two shipyards on the river Clyde, said that “the UK Ministry of Defence holds ultimate responsibility as to where it builds and services its submarines and warships.”
She added “that should the MoD request that the capability be made available in England then we would be happy to have talks.”