Britain announces investment in Scottish naval base

Update: August, 31/2015 - 11:34

LONDONScotland's Faslane naval base is to receive £500 million (US$770 million) in investment over 10 years, the British government has announced on Sunday.

The site of Britain's Trident submarine nuclear deterrent, Faslane is to receive investment in ship lifts, sea walls, jetties and other projects from 2017, with jobs at the base increasing to 8,200 by 2022 from 6,700, according to a statement.

"Today's announcement of more than £500 million demonstrates the UK government's commitment to investing in the infrastructure and capability to ensure that Faslane remains the centre of UK submarine operations for the next generation," finance minister George Osborne said in a statement on Sunday.

The announcement of investment in the military, a key shared British institution, came as former prime minister Gordon Brown warned of risks to the centuries-old union of Scotland and England due to divisive politics.

"The Conservatives decided to play at the general election the English nationalism card," Brown told an audience in the Scottish capital Edinburgh.

"They are pushing Scotland and England further apart."

The Conservative party increased its seats in England in the May election, helping return Prime Minister David Cameron with a majority, while the Scottish National Party surged in popularity to take almost every seat in Scotland.

Faslane's Trident nuclear system, up for a decision on renewal by next year, is a bone of contention between the British government and the SNP, which campaigns for it to be scrapped.

In response to Osborne's announcement, the SNP's Westminster defence spokesman Brendan O'Hara called for Faslane to be made into a "conventional base" rather than a nuclear hub.

"It seems the Treasury apparently has a limitless pot to keep an unwanted and obscene arsenal of nuclear weapons afloat," O'Hara said.

Scottish voters rejected independence from the rest of the United Kingdom by 55 per cent to 45 per cent in a 2014 referendum, but the SNP has said it will seek a second vote if Britain votes to leave the European Union in a referendum due by 2017. — AFP