Labour’s shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran is quoted in the Herald today presenting the award of £300m of contracts for the navy’s innovative new aircraft-free aircraft carriers as a benefit of the Union, and continuing the well-worn scare story that the Clyde and Rosyth shipyards would close in an independent Scotland.
The MoD’s current estimate of the cost of the carriers is “closer to £6bn than £7bn”. So let’s be conservative (and almost certainly wildly optimistic) and say £6.2bn.
Scotland currently contributes 9.9% of UK tax revenues, so Scottish taxpayers are paying £614m as Scotland’s share of the cost of the two carriers.
Scotland is getting £300m of that back in contracts, or slightly less than half.
Scots, then, are paying a net £314m towards the useless ships (because we’re pretty certain they won’t be defending Scotland from any threats – they’re toys for London to “punch above our weight on the world stage” with), one of which will be mothballed as soon as it’s built anyway, because we can’t afford to run it but it was too expensive to cancel the (negotiated by Labour) contract.
Margaret Curran, who would be Scotland’s defender at Westminster if Labour won the 2015 election, thinks that’s a good deal. As our granny used to say, the UK Treasury must have “gey big windaes”, because they certainly saw her coming a long way off.