Politics

Scottish Election 2021: Keeping Defence Jobs In Scotland 'Incredibly Important' For Lib Dems

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has spoken to Forces News about his party's plans for the military and defence in Scotland.

Ahead of the election for Scottish Parliament 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 Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie spoke to Forces News about his party's vision.

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

"We need to have retraining and reskilling options for people who are transitioning out of the military into civilian life.

"We've got a £5,000 grant available for people who want to do exactly that.

"We need to make sure we've got support services as well.

"Places like Veterans First Point are incredibly important to make sure that that difficult transition sometimes is as easy as possible."

Willie Rennie said it was important to support the services that aid veterans in their transition to civilian life.

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

"This is incredibly important because you often find they move from base to base to base and that disrupts the healthcare, but also the education as well.

"We need to make sure that the priority treatment status that is there for [the] military and their families continues to be the case.

"We also need to make sure they don't end up at the back of the queue if there is a waiting list to get into the GP practice.

"And then, of course, we need to have a pupil equity fund supplement in the same way as a pupil premium supplement for military families in England.

"That needs to be there too, in order to make sure the children don't lose out from that chopping and changing from one school to the next."

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

"This is incredibly important. There are a lot of defence jobs in terms of shipbuilding but also the defence industry here that needs to be maintained.

"We've got an edge on that with the skills and the talents of people here. That needs to continue.

"But we also need to make sure that the bases that we've got, whether it's in Leuchars in my constituency or right around Scotland, continue to be strong with a good presence of the British military.

"Because that's the best way of making sure we've got a connection with the community, but also keeping our defences strong."

The Scottish Lib Dem leader said it is "incredibly important" to keep defence and military jobs in Scotland (Picture: BAE).

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

"The UK defence forces are respected all over the world.

"We've got some of the best in the world. They play a peacekeeping role but also making sure we keep this country safe too, that needs to continue.

"With the wide range from the air, to the sea, to the land, we need to make sure all of that continues to be strong and that's what you'll get with the Liberal Democrats."

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

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