Scottish shipyards to build 24 warships between 2015-2035 – UK Defence Journal

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With the recent news that Rosyth will build a warship for Ukraine, the total number of warships being built in Scottish shipyards between 2015 to 2035 now stands at 24.

In addition to the now built 5 Offshore Patrol Vessels, there are plans for 8 Type 26 Frigates, 5 Type 31 Frigates, 5 Type 32 Frigates and 1 Ukrainian warship to be built in Scotland.

Ukraine previously signed a memorandum with the UK to secure £1.25 billion in funding to build new military vessels for the Ukrainian Navy, the first ship will be constructed in the UK and the remaining 7 vessels will be built in Ukraine.

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Military personnel will deploy to support Scottish Ambulance Service – STV news

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Hundreds of military personnel will be deployed to support the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The UK Government approved the support through the Military Assistance to the Civil Authority (MACA) process.

It comes after a request from the Scotland Office, working with the Scottish Government, to tackle long response times, with the ambulance service under severe pressure due to the pandemic.

Last week at Holyrood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that consideration was being given to asking for targeted military assistance to help with “short-term pressure points”.

It has now been confirmed that from Saturday, the Ministry of Defence will provide 114 people to augment ambulance drivers.

This will include drivers and support staff, who will provide resilience to the Scottish Ambulance Service by carrying out non-emergency driving work, with each being paired with a clinical professional.

A further 111 personnel will operate Mobile Testing Units, which the military previously supported in 2020.

They will be utilised to help identify infections and break chains of transmission, with their work beginning on Wednesday, September 29.

Brigadier Ben Wrench, commander of Joint Military Command Scotland said: “The Armed Forces in Scotland continue to support the Scottish Government’s response to the pandemic.

“We are working closely with the Scottish Government and Scottish Ambulance Service, following their requests for assistance with drivers and Mobile Testing Units.”

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace praised the lifesaving service being provided by members of the Armed forces.

“Our Armed Forces are once again stepping up, demonstrating their versatility as we support the Covid-19 response across the UK,” he said.

Zero-emission submarine project wins UK Government funding – STV news

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A firm developing zero-emission submarines which could transport cargo between Glasgow and Belfast has been awarded a share of £23m of UK Government green maritime funding.

The fully automated vessels are designed to be “net positive” by running on green hydrogen and collecting microplastics, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

A fleet could secure 27 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the first year of operation, according to the DfT.

Another project awarded UK Government funding is developing electric boat chargepoints connected to offshore wind turbines.

They would operate in a similar way to electric car chargers, with sailors plugging in, charging their vessel and sailing away.

The use of renewable energy in this way could be equivalent to taking more than 62,000 cars off the road, the DfT said.

The competition winners were announced as part of London International Shipping Week.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “As a proud island nation built on our maritime prowess, it is only right that we lead by example when it comes to decarbonising the sector and building back greener.

Scotland to receive more than £1bn from social care levy – STV news

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Boris Johnson has said Scotland will receive more than £1bn as he announced plans to raise additional cash for social care reform across the UK.

The Prime Minister announced that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic the UK Government is to introduce a new health and social care levy, based on a 1.25% increase in national insurance (NI) contributions.

Johnson insisted this was a “reasonable and the fair approach” to paying for the reforms – despite breaching a manifesto pledge not to raise NI contributions.

However the SNP warned the changes would be the Prime Minister’s version of the “poll tax”, with the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford accusing the Tory of taxing Scottish workers twice.

Johnson however insisted that the three devolved nations would “benefit from an extra £2.2bn a year”, adding that “this is about 15% more than they would contribute through the levy”.

Red Cross volunteers help nearly 164,000 people amid Covid-19 pandemic – STV news

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More than 7000 British Red Cross volunteers have helped nearly 164,000 people across Scotland amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures.

The charity said the ways their volunteers have assisted include delivering food and medicine to doorsteps, helping with vaccinations and manning a coronavirus support line to support people at their loneliest moments.

It published new data indicating 7418 volunteers took part in these efforts, assisting 163,782 people during the pandemic to date.

Ahead of Nicola Sturgeon announcing her Programme for Government next week, the Red Cross said its experience helping tens of thousands of people shows the Scottish Government must focus on addressing the challenges of loneliness, rising NHS waiting times and helping the most vulnerable.

The Scots iron crew behind Big Ben’s £90m revamp – STV news

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One of Scotland’s last remaining iron foundries is playing a key role in the £90m transformation of Big Ben.

Using moulding methods dating back hundreds of years, workers at Ballantine Castings in Bo’ness are creating around 2000 new cast-iron tiles.

They will adorn the revamped Victorian tower that looms large over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

Many of the original tiles were damaged during the Second World War and, as each one is slightly different, they all have to be custom-made in Scotland.

Boris Johnson should hold at least four meetings each year with Nicola Sturgeon and devolved government leaders, says think-tank – The Scotsman

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The Prime Minister should hold at least four meetings each year with the leaders of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a think-tank has suggested.

Our Scottish Future made the plea as a report examining how the different governments had worked together during the coronavirus pandemic commented on the “seemingly dire personal relationship” between Boris Johnson and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The paper, based on interviews with senior figures in both the London and Edinburgh governments, argued the close-working relationships that have now been built up between health ministers across the UK need to be replicated and become a permanent feature of politics.