Trident: Carole Malone slams Sturgeon's nuclear plans
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Contingency plans are thought to have been drawn up by the UK Government for if a Yes vote was successful in any potential future independence referendum. Three options are thought to be under consideration: asking the Scottish government to allow the weapons to continue to be housed in Scotland, moving the deterrent abroad, or creating a new base in another part of the UK.
But a leading former British general and military historian has warned the UK’s security would be compromised if the Trident missile system remained in Scotland.
Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley, who was the Deputy Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, warned Scotland would be so financially crippled by independence it would be forced to rely on handouts from enemy states.
He told Express.co.uk: “Let’s face it, an independent Scotland would have to take handouts from China or Russia to survive.
“There would probably be a Russian or Chinese presence as a result.
“And therefore that doesn’t look very good.”
He indicated leaving our nuclear deterrent in such close proximity to such nations would be a dangerous move, with trusting another country such as France or the US also not sensible.
The experienced military veteran suggested moving Trident to Milford Haven in Wales would be the safest option, even if the most expensive.
Lieutenant-General Riley’s suggestion SNP may be forced to rely on China or Russia is not the first time questions have been raised about how an independent Scotland would fund itself.
The SNP has faced repeated questions about how it would cover a shortfall in spending if there was a Yes vote.
Analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies earlier this year indicated Scotland receives 30 percent more funding per person than in England due to the Barnett Formula.
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It revealed about two-thirds of Scottish Government funding comes from the block grant it receives from the UK Government.
The SNP would need to impose tax rises or make spending cuts of nearly £1,800 per person if the money was cut off due to independence.
Scottish First Minister has previously denied claims the country would be unable to fund itself if it quit the UK.
She said devolution rules prevented her from borrowing money in the way other countries and the UK Government can.
Rejecting suggestions English taxpayers subsidised Scotland, she said: “Scotland pays its taxes in the same way that people in England pay their taxes.
“What you call the fiscal transfer funded largely by borrowing by the UK Government right now, because the Scottish Government doesn’t have powers to borrow.”
The Scottish Government has already made clear it wants to see the “safe and complete withdrawal of Trident”.
In the event of independence the government would be unlikely to shift on its position.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government firmly oppose the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons and we are committed to the safe and complete withdrawal of Trident from Scotland.”
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