A MAJOR conference next month will examine the potential impacts of defence policy in an independent Scotland – not only on Scotland, but on the UK as a whole.
Defence Policy: Protecting Scotland and Preserving Jobs looks at how the shape of future defence forces might affect the significant aerospace, defence and security industry in Scotland.
One of the speakers, Professor Malcolm Chalmers, warned a House of Commons committee earlier this year that the procurement budget of a Scottish Ministry of Defence would be too small to guarantee continued orders for defence businesses north of the border. Others have warned that the MoD in London would not automatically continue to order from companies in an independent Scotland.
One of the UK’s leading defence experts, Professor Hew Strachan, of Oxford University, will argue at the conference that the UK has failed to engage fully in the debate around independence and defence policy so far. He will call for much more detailed and in-depth dialogue about the impact of independence on all issues surrounding defence policy.
Professor William Walker, of the University of St Andrews, will talk about the Trident debate and how that might impact on the referendum in September next year.
Two senior politicians – Angus Robertson MP, who speaks on defence and foreign affairs for the SNP, and Labour’s defence spokesman Jim Murphy MP – will present contrasting views of how an independent Scotland’s defence policy will impact on the twin themes of the conference – protecting Scotland and preserving jobs.
“This debate is long overdue in looking at the wider implications of reshaping defence policy,” said David Lee, one of the event organisers at The Scotsman Conferences. “The aerospace, defence, marine and security industry is very economically significant in Scotland, employing well over 40,000 people.
“There is a complex supply chain, involving big businesses like BAE systems, Babcock International, Selex Galileo and Thales and many suppliers in the SME sector. They are all looking for answers on what an independent Scotland and its defence policy might mean for them.”
Mr Lee added: “Also, Hew Strachan is right to say that the UK needs to engage much more with the debate and its implications not just for Scotland but the UK as a whole.”
Also speaking at the event will be Ian Waddell, who covers the defence industry for UNITE the union.
Defence Policy: Protecting Scotland and Preserving Jobs – sponsored by Brodies LLP – takes place at the Scottish National Galleries on Friday June 14th, from 9.00am-1.15pm.
For more details and to book, go to: http://scotsmanconferences.com/viewconference.aspx?id=32
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