If the Scottish National party seeks to remove the Trident base from Faslane as an intrinsic part of a possible post-independence government (Report, 11 July), is it really too much to ask that it pays for the relocation of the facility? The estimated cost could be as much as £20bn and take 20 years, and it seems wholly unreasonable on the part of the SNP to deny costs that are precipitated by its own political actions. This argument serves only to highlight the complexity of the settlements that will be necessary should Scotland leave the UK, because it is not just assets that should be considered; an equally fraught issue will be apportioning public debt.
Both the Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS had their financial headquarters in Edinburgh when the credit crunch had a serious impact on the banking sector in 2008. These two companies required massive injections from the UK government to stay afloat. The cost of the bailout to HBOS is reported to be in excess of £30bn. Alex Salmond is on record as saying that the UK government should still be liable for the full £187bn that is propping up RBS, even if Scotland were to win independence, despite the fact that he supported the RBS takeover of ABN Amro, a move that led to the near collapse of the bank.
However, is the SNP really going to deny any responsibility for the capital these two Scottish-based companies required from UK public finances? The same applies to the possible relocation of the Trident base. The SNP’s attitude to sharing the responsibility of debt and infrastructural changes implies that it is not confident about the economic viability of an independent Scotland.
Newhaven, East Sussex
• I see the Ministry of Defence has a cunning plan to keep Trident at Faslane if the Scots are foolish enough to vote for independence. The ministry plans to designate Faslane as a sovereign base and therefore effectively part of England. Now where have I heard that idea before? Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. Grabbed by the US at the end of the Spanish American wars, it has become a symbol of international shame, housing a prison where people are suspected of terrorism but denied any legal rights. In the unlikely event of Faslane being designated a sovereign territory it, too, would become a symbol of shame.
I suspect this plan is going to backfire. The people of Scotland will take it as an insult that we cannot decide whether our country can be used as a base for weapons of mass destruction.
Let us give a gift to the people of England: let them use the removal of the base as a reason to abandon Trident altogether and save themselves £100bn.