Saturday 18 Jun 2011 @ 10:15
Further cuts to Scotland's military personnel or closures of RAF bases would not be justified on either economic or defence grounds, the First Minister said recently.
Alex Salmond made the comments in a comprehensive Scottish Government submission to the UK Government Basing Review. The submission is a further chance to reinforce the case to secure a strong Scottish defence footprint ahead of the final UK Cabinet decision.
- reinforces the vital economic and social case for retaining both RAF Leuchars and RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland following the closure of RAF Kinloss, stating that to lose more than one of Scotland's three flying bases would be a disproportionate, unreasonable and devastating blow for our communities
- outlines that the period of uncertainty is having an increasingly negative effect on the local economies of Moray and Fife due to reduced business optimism, impacts on investment and a downturn in the local housing markets
- calls for a reversal of the considerable decline of army personnel in Scotland by troops returning from Germany to be based here
- highlights the considerable role 45 Commando based at RM Condor has played in the community in Arbroath for four decades and the socio-economic impact of relocation
- reinforces Scotland's prime position to support defence procurement due to its world class defence and technologies industry
- outlines the need for clarity, proper planning, investment and collaboration with the Scottish Government following the final Basing Review decision
Mr Salmond said:
"The economic and defence case for retaining Scotland's current military bases is considerable, comprehensive and overwhelming, as this submission clearly shows. Reducing the strength of the defence footprint in Scotland or withdrawing military personnel could have an irreversible impact on generations of proud military tradition.
"The UK Government has a final chance to listen and we have put our case in the strongest possible terms. Our ambition is clear. The choices made today must take into consideration the Scotland of the future and the economic, environmental and social impact on our communities now and in the future. The UK Government needs to take strategic, long term decisions which safeguard the future of our defence capability.
"They owe it to our communities, our military personnel and their families, to provide clarity and reverse the disproportionate level of cuts and closures we have faced in Scotland. We stand united in the fight for the future of our forces. These are our armed services and they form a vital part of our communities in Scotland. We will must make sure that they continue to do so for generations to come."