Written statement to Parliament

Scotland analysis: security

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This written ministerial statement was laid on 29 October 2013 in the House of Commons by Theresa May and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May):

The UK government has today published the 7th paper in its Scotland analysis programme, ‘Scotland analysis: security’. This series of publications is designed to inform the debate on Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom ahead of next year’s referendum.

The ‘Scotland analysis: security’ paper analyses the UK’s approach to security and the potential consequences of Scottish independence. Scotland and its people are an integral part of the UK’s national security, and the UK government believes both that Scotland is better off as part of the UK, and that the UK is stronger, safer and more secure with Scotland as part of it.

The first duty of any state is the defence of its territory and institutions, and the protection of its citizens and property from both internal and external sources of threat or harm. As a part of the union, Scotland benefits from the full spectrum of capabilities available to the UK’s security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

There is greater security through integrated UK-wide security and intelligence agencies with global reach. The UK’s security and intelligence agencies protect against terrorism and espionage, enable the collection of secret foreign intelligence, and make possible intelligence gathering through the monitoring of communications. An independent Scottish state would lose automatic access to UK intelligence, impacting on its ability to counter espionage and hostile foreign intelligence activity as well as terrorism.

We are better protected through enhanced justice and policing capabilities and international partnerships to tackle serious and organised crime. Long-established UK-wide laws facilitate the cross-border pursuit of justice despite different legal systems and police jurisdictions. This works with the minimum of bureaucracy and more quickly and efficiently than is possible between EU states. Independence would see the existing powers lapse, impacting negatively on an independent Scotland’s ability to pursue justice across borders.

There is greater resilience through UK-wide cyber security, CBRN response and border protection arrangements. The UK’s £860 million cyber security programme delivers enhanced cyber security for the benefit of the whole of the UK, which leads other G20 countries in its ability to withstand cyber attacks.

The UK government also maintains a number of capabilities to deal with CBRN devices as well as explosive materials. Scotland also benefits from a nationally run scheme to prevent both specified foreign national passengers travelling to the UK and British nationals boarding flights when assessed to pose a threat to that aircraft. An independent Scottish state would be responsible for its own border security.

More broadly, and in support of many of the security capabilities I have outlined here and which are detailed in the paper itself, Scottish security and resilience companies currently stand to benefit from Her Majesty’s Government’s efforts to increase global UK security exports. The security and resilience industry in Scotland is estimated to generate over £200 million each year and employ over 2,000 people. UK government efforts to promote Scottish security firms overseas would cease in the event of independence; a significant potential loss to this important element of the Scottish economy.

In the event of a vote in favour of leaving the UK, Scotland would become an entirely new state and would have to establish its own security arrangements. The start-up costs and complexity of establishing separate intelligence, border and CBRN capabilities would be very significant. It would cease to enjoy the influence that derives from the UK’s established status as a key player within the international system and the opportunities this offers to advance the security and prosperity objectives of the UK including Scotland. Future papers from the Scotland analysis programme will be published over the course of 2013 and 2014 to ensure that people in Scotland have access to the facts and information ahead of the referendum.

Published 29 October 2013