By a Newsnet reporter
A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee, highlighting what it claims was a lack of proper skills evaluation prior to MoD job cuts, has prompted calls for a review of Scottish redundancies.
The report, published today, claims that the MoD proceeded with cuts to the military and civilian workforce without evaluating what skills it will need in the future.
The report found that cuts to personnel had been determined by short-term savings, the MoD is being forced to shed 54,000 jobs over five tears.
The Committee expressed concern that the pressure to make cuts in the short-term meant the MoD had not considered the skills it will need to deliver its long-term strategic objectives. MPs claimed that the loss of key skills could would mean the department may have to spend more money on external consultants.
The Scottish National Party has now called for an official review of hundreds of Service and Civilian redundancies the MoD has made in Scotland.
SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson criticised the lack of planning and called for a review of 660 jobs that had been axed in Scotland over the last three months – 440 of them military personnel.
Scotland has seen a disproportionate number of redundancies, losing 4% compared to a figure of 1.8% for England.
Commenting, Mr Robertson said:
“With the level of military personnel based in Scotland is at its lowest level in memory this report raises new questions over the 660 redundancies the MoD has made in Scotland over the last three months. The Defence Secretary must address the skills and capability gaps that these cuts are creating.
“This issue could not be more pressing with the current uncertainty over the future of our historic recruited units, not to mention the glaring capability gaps the UK Government has created by scrapping vital programmes such as Nimrod.”
Mr Robertson’s comments follow a claim last year by UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond’s predecessor Liam Fox, who said the UK Coalition had provided “a substantial uplift of the defence footprint in Scotland”.
However, in the last decade 11,000 defence job losses have been lost in Scotland leaving numbers their lowest since 1997.
Mr Robertson added:
“Promises by the Defence Secretary of a substantial increase in Scotland’s defence footprint are clearly not worth the paper they are written on.
“The recent loss of these Service and civilian jobs take the total number defence job losses in Scotland over the last decade to more than 11,000 – on top of a £5.6bn underspend which has seen the closure of bases and the creation of mammoth capability gaps.
“It shows that the UK Government has continued the disproportionate decline in Scotland’s defence footprint at a time when we were promised an increased conventional presence.
“Far from Scotland benefiting from a Union dividend, we have been hit again and again by a UK defence downturn. It’s no wonder the people in Scotland cannot trust a word the UK Government say on defence.”