The Scottish National Party's devolved Scottish Government published on 26 November their White Paper entitled "Scotland's Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland". The extract below sets out the intended position of current service personnel and veterans in the event of a 'Yes' vote in the September 2014 Referendum. It says that no Scottish service personnel would face compulsory redundancy during their contract period. The Scottish Government also intends to examine how the terms and conditions of service personnel could be improved, for example through the official representation of service personnel.
From the Scottish Government White Paper, Chapter 6:
Service personnel and veterans
"The Scottish Government respects the service of current personnel. We will ensure that all current service personnel will be eligible for a post in the Scottish defence forces, though they will not need to take it up.
"All service personnel will have the reassurance that they will not face compulsory redundancy during their service contract. This Scottish Government would examine how the terms and conditions of service personnel could be improved, for example through the official representation of service personnel.
"Where whole or part of units are identified for transfer to Scottish defence forces, the Scottish Government will ensure that all current UK service personnel within those units can remain with them for at least a transitional period, where they wish to do so. A similar approach will be followed for reserve personnel and the important role of cadet forces will also be maintained.
"The aim will be a phased and responsible approach to the position of those currently serving in the UK armed forces who might wish to transfer to Scottish defence forces. Some may transfer immediately, while others would continue in their current role. It is our intention that terms and conditions remain harmonised through this period. Any sensible approach would recognise that, at the end of that process, it is highly likely that citizens from the rest of the UK, Ireland and from other Commonwealth countries would be serving in an independent Scotland's defence forces. Though it would ultimately be a decision for the rest of the UK, we also expect that Scottish citizens will continue to serve in UK forces if they wish to, as citizens of Ireland and the Commonwealth do.
"Reserve personnel make a valuable contribution to defence capability and will do so in an independent Scotland. Our proposals include a baseline requirement for around 1,700 reserve personnel at the point of independence. However as there are currently an estimated 2,200 trained reserve personnel in Scotland, it would be both feasible and desirable to increase numbers beyond the baseline that requirement suggests, in order to build flexibility and enhance capability. In the longer term the Government envisages the reserve force building to 5,000 personnel after 10 years.
"Scotland and the rest of the UK will also continue to owe the same debt of gratitude to veterans who have served in the past. The Scottish Government will build on our existing strong record in this area to ensure that veterans continue to access the services and benefits that they are entitled to. This will include full service pensions and pension entitlement, following agreement with the Westminster Government."
- "Scotland's Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland" (various formats)
- "Scotland's Future" - Chapter 6 - International Relations and Defence
Reminder: As with parliamentary elections, BAFF's primary interest in the Scottish independence referendum is in encouraging and facilitating maximum registration and participation by eligible members of the armed forces community. The Federation remains politically-neutral, and its engagement with such issues should not be taken to imply any expectation as to how this historic vote is likely to go on the day. We consider that in the event of a 'Yes' vote, there would be an even greater need for constructive independent representation of service personnel in both countries, including during the transition process.
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