Naval base is of little economic benefit
Sir, I see that Argyll and Bute Council website has a press release claiming credit for an increase in population within the area of 240.
This was picked up and analysed by the Lochside Press. It was not impressed and wondered if the 15 families of Syrian refugees taken in on Bute may account for most of that number.
I thought about it some more and added in the story from the Ministry of Defence about the benefits of the new submarines being based in Faslane. There are now three out of a planned seven in service at the base.
The story was that these submarines would bring thousands of new personnel and a great boost to the local economy.
Almost half are in service here and after years of population reductions we now have an increase of 240 this past year.
Some of these new sailors may have moved home and be counted among the population but most are more likely in service accommodation inside the base and travelling home to their permanent abode elsewhere. They should not be counted as a benefit to Argyll and Bute.
If you look behind the story, trumpeted as good news and as a result of work by the council, the truth is that there is still an ongoing and persistent problem of an ageing population. Many indigenous young people have to move and take accommodation elsewhere to find decent employment which continues the shrinkage of the working-age population.
Let’s not any longer listen to, or believe, the continually repeated and exaggerated stories about the enormous benefits to Argyll and Bute from the base in Faslane.
The number of locals employed within the base is regularly shrinking; it is now a fraction of what it was 10 or 15 years ago and the contractors that run it are seeking to reduce the numbers still further.
The navy no longer moves large numbers to the area but prefers to increase the internal accommodation and have the sailors live there Monday to Friday and travel home at weekends. Dougie Blackwood, 1 Douglas Drive, East Helensburgh.