Scottish Election 2021: 'Got To Stop With The Military Cuts', SNP's Sturgeon Says

Scotland will take to the polls next week and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has spoken to Forces News about her party's plans for defence.

Ahead of Scotland's Holyrood elections next week, Forces News has been speaking to the country's party leaders to learn more about their plans for the Armed Forces and veterans community.

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon has been laying out her party's vision.

What will you do to help veterans transition from the military to civilian life?

"Firstly, we intend to work with the business community and employers through an awareness raising campaign to try to expand the number of employment opportunities that are available to veterans.

"Secondly, we intend to increase the veterans fund and expand its criteria so that it can work to create more innovative projects with a particular focus on early service leavers.

"And then thirdly, we will – if continuing to be the Scottish government – seek to lead by example by creating more employment opportunities within the Scottish government."

Faslane naval base, also known as HM Naval Base Clyde
Scotland is the home of the UK's nuclear deterrent, based at HMNB Clyde (Picture: PA).

What will you do to ensure military and defence-related jobs remain in Scotland?

"We've got to stop with the military cuts, cuts to conventional defence spending and forces we've seen over previous years.

"Scotland needs to be well-defended and therefore it's really important that we invest in conventional defences, support our Armed Forces, invest also in things like cyber security."

What can be done to better support military spouses and children in Scotland?

"Continuing the Veterans Railcard, for example, continuing to support, invest in and expand the Veterans First Point network – which, of course, across the country provides a lot of help and support to veterans and their families.

"And actually, one of the key things over the next couple of years we intend to do is include a specific question in the census about previous service so that we can identify veterans but crucially families of veterans."

Nicola Sturgeon said "it's really important that we invest in conventional defences".

How does the Armed Forces fit into your vision of Scotland's future?

"We need strong well-resourced Armed Forces to keep our country safe and, of course, where appropriate, to collaborate with our allies to make the world a safer place as well.

"So in Scotland, it is really important that we support strong conventional Armed Forces and also, of course, support our veterans in the many different ways – they don't just need our support but deserve our support."

You can read our interviews with the leaders of the Scottish Conservative Party, Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Liberal Democrats by clicking the hyperlinks.

The Scottish Green Party did not respond to our request for an interview.