|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
Scotland's RAF bases
There is an overwhelming defence, social and economic case for retaining Scotland's RAF bases, Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said today during a meeting with community and business representatives in Moray.
Mr Ewing today met board members of the Moray Economic Partnership (MEP) and business and community leaders, as part of the Government's ongoing support for the community affected by the Ministry of Defence review. MEP was established to drive forward economic growth in Moray, during a period of uncertainty due to the UK Government's Basing Review process.
The Minister also met RAF civil servants and Military personnel and jobseekers during a visit to the Kinloss Work Club. The Club was established to provide advice, support and skills development opportunities to people affected by the closure of RAF Kinloss.
Kinloss Work Club was established to provide advice, support and skills development opportunities to people affected by the closure of RAF Kinloss. The project brings together services from Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Business Gateway, JobCentre Plus, the Highland Employer Coalition (HEC), the Kinloss Skills Partnership and Career Transition Partnership (CTP).
The visit follows the Scottish Government's comprehensive submission to the UK Government Basing Review on Thursday, which reinforced the case to secure a strong Scottish defence footprint ahead of the final UK Cabinet decision.
Minister for Enterprise Fergus Ewing said:
"RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Leuchars are of national importance to Scotland and this Government urges the Ministry of Defence to acknowledge the overwhelming defence, social and economic case for retaining both bases in their Basing Review.
"The Scottish Government continues to support the communities of Leuchars and Moray in their continuing campaign to protect Scotland's RAF footprint and to prevent the withdrawal of military personnel from Scotland.
"Last week this Government made a comprehensive submission to the UK Government Basing Review, ahead of the final UK Cabinet decision, urging it to consider the substantial economic and social impact of base closures in the communities of Fife and Moray.
"The Scottish Government recognises that this is a very difficult time for RAF communities. The announcement of the closure of RAF Kinloss has already dealt a devastating blow to Moray, and the delay in the decision on the future of RAF Lossiemouth has created much uncertainty for local people.
"Projects such as the Kinloss Work Club are bringing together key employment and enterprise services to mitigate the damage of the RAF Kinloss closure through helping job seekers identify new opportunities for employment and skills development. The Moray Economic Partnership is also working hard to identify new opportunities for economic growth, jobs and investment.
"Scotland has lost more than 10,000 defence jobs since 1997 and this Government will continue to do all it can to protect Scotland's defence jobs and our military communities. This means taking strategic steps through initiatives such as the Moray Economic Partnership to capitalise on the strengths and competitive advantages of our communities to secure their future economic success and prosperity."
Convener of Moray Council and chairman of the Moray Community Planning Partnership Councillor George McIntyre said:
"I am delighted that the minister has taken time from his busy schedule to meet members of the Moray Economic Partnership and to see and hear what is being done to secure the future of local communities affected by the impending closure of RAF Kinloss and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding RAF Lossiemouth.
"These are challenging times for the Moray economy but with government support and with everyone pulling together I am confident we can overcome many of the difficulties facing us."
Moray Economic Partnership Chair Jim Royan said:
"We are delighted the new Minister is taking such an early interest in Moray. His visit to the Work Club and to meet business leaders in the area will give him a good overview of the well connected response our community is taking to mitigate against the impacts of the defence review."
Skills Development Scotland Operations Director Danny Logue said:
"With its partners in Moray Skills Development Scotland continues to identify positive solutions for those seeking new careers in the region beyond the closure of RAF Kinloss. Skills Development Scotland is committed to working with existing partners and forging new relationships to stimulate further opportunities for those facing the loss of their jobs in the region."