First Minister says fight for Moray bases is an issue of national importance
27 October 2010
Issued by the Scottish Government.
Community and business leaders from across Moray met with Scottish Government Ministers in Edinburgh today to discuss their priorities for the local economy.
It follows the publication of the UK Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) which contained an eight per cent cut in defence spending and the cancellation of the Nimrod contract, sounding an uncertain future for RAF Kinloss and Lossiemouth.
The Moray Taskforce held talks with the First Minister, Finance Secretary and Rural Affairs Secretary to finalise a plan of action to minimise the impact of the potential closure of RAF Kinloss and fight for the retention of RAF Lossiemouth. The two bases make an enormous contribution to the local area, supporting 5,710 jobs and contributing £158 million annually to the local economy.
Ministers have requested a date for a new meeting with the UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox, as promised when the Scottish party leaders met with Mr Fox earlier this month, and will continue to press the UK Government to honour their pledge to engage fully with communities before final decisions are made.
Speaking after the constructive meeting at St Andrew's House, First Minister Alex Salmond said:
"A week after the SDSR was published many unanswered questions remain for the people of Moray, the lack of clarity on what the UK Government is actually proposing is a real cause for concern.
"Today's meeting was an opportunity for community and business leaders to update Ministers on their plans to fight for the future of the RAF bases in Moray. Community and business leaders have moved quickly to form a Moray Taskforce to assist people directly affected by the proposed Kinloss closure, retain skills in the area and, critically, campaign to save the threatened Lossiemouth base.
"We stand ready to support them every step of the way and have already provided considerable expertise to help co-ordinate the campaign. We are also pressing the UK Government to honour its pledge to engage fully with communities before final decisions are made, that is the very least that Scotland's defence industry and the people of Moray deserve.
"We are also considering what can be learned from the use of the Office of Economic Adjustment in the United States which provides a range of support for people affected by base closure and realignment. The OEA provides a useful model in demonstrating how a collaborative approach can help to empower communities and minimise negative impacts in similar situations. We are commending this approach to the Ministry of Defence.
"We will not take this lying down. Scotland's strong track record of partnership working and doing what it takes to preserve local jobs and build a sustainable future will be invaluable. This is not just about Moray and is a national issue of national importance."
Moray Council Convener, Councillor George McIntyre, said:
"The withdrawal of the RAF from Kinloss leaves the base vulnerable to closure. The MoD have suggested that the base could be used as an army base and we will make a strong case to secure this outcome sooner rather than the 2015 date suggested by the PM. Even if Kinloss is maintained as an army base, there will be a devastating affect on the local community and economy, as the number and spending power of personnel will be greatly reduced.
"In addition, we passionately believe that RAF Lossiemouth should be home to the UK's Tornados. To close RAF Lossiemouth would be catastrophic for an area for which defence has been a vital component for 70 years. Together the RAF bases represent around a quarter of Scotland's defence footprint.
"Analysis is ongoing by officials in HIE and the Scottish Government to strengthen the case for RAF Lossiemouth. The case consists of economic, social and defence elements and we intend to make a compelling argument to the MoD across all three aspects. We are also seeking cross-party support from all of Scotland's main political party leaders to strengthen the case for RAF Lossiemouth."
Moray RAF bases make a significant contribution to the population and economic prosperity of the area, collectively supporting 5,710 FTE jobs in the local economy, some 16 per cent of all FTE employment within Moray. Gross income from the bases is estimated at around £158 million per annum. RAF households account for 7 per cent of the total population of Moray.
RAF Kinloss offers direct employment to 1,276 FTE military personnel (89 per cent male); 254 FTE civilian employees (most of whom live quite near to the base); 102.7 FTE other on-site employment jobs (aviation related contractors, MoD technical divisions - Defence Estates and Defence Estates Housing; and other organisations such as the prime contractors to the MoD technical divisions). Total of 1,632.7 FTE with total gross income of £54.5 million.
RAF Lossiemouth offer direct employment to 1919 FTE military personnel (including 98 reservists); 288 FTE civilian employees; 196.6 FTE other on-site employment jobs (aviation related contractors, MoD technical divisions - Defence Estates and Defence Estates Housing; and other organisations such as the prime contractors to the MoD technical divisions). Total of 2,404.3 FTE with total gross income of £72.2 million. There are approximately 2000 spouses and dependants of RAF personnel living in Moray.
The First Minister Alex Salmond and all three main opposition party leaders met Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox in London on 1 October as part of their cross-party campaign to protect defence jobs and skills in Scotland.
List of Attendees
10 November 2011Moray Economic Partnership welcomes Kinloss announcement»
21 July 2011Expansion plans for Forres engineering company»
21 July 2011Swinney meets Moray Economic Partnership and welcomes FirScot expansion plans»
20 July 2011RAF campaign shifts focus»
18 July 2011Moray welcomes RAF Lossiemouth decision»
18 July 2011First Minister's view on the Defence Review announcement»
10 July 2011RAF campaigners urge Cameron to do the right thing»
09 July 2011RAF Lossiemouth – An Irreplaceable Asset»
17 June 2011Forres area Development Trust plans move forward»
17 June 2011Enterprise Minister to meet Moray Economic Partnership»
16 June 2011Scottish Government's submission regarding the RAF Bases»
03 June 2011Meeting (and not meeting) politicians……»
02 June 2011Moray Task Force will fight to the finish for RAF communities »
29 March 2011Expectations rising for Forum event of 30 March»
18 March 2011Economic stimulus for Moray»
08 March 2011New economic strategy for Moray»
04 March 2011David Mundell MP has pledged to help beleaguered businesses in Moray in their attempts to secure commercial loans from banks. »
18 February 2011Moray Work Club hits the mark in offering skilled advice»
10 February 2011Uncertainty about the Future of Bases Continues»
04 February 2011Moray task force highlights dependency on RAF as uncertainty about the future of the bases continues »
30 January 2011Shock delay on RAF bases decision unacceptable says Moray community»
27 January 2011Businesses make plea to politicians who will decide fate of RAF in Moray »
21 January 2011Job and skills hub for Moray base»
14 January 2011Moray RAF campaign grows in strength as task force doubles membership »
12 January 2011Moray calls for international model to support its economy»
12 January 2011First Minister sets out case for defence in London»
10 January 2011Visit by Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism»
22 December 2010Further support for Scots RAF bases »
10 December 2010Raising VAT threshold would boost Moray economy»
08 December 2010Confidence remains fragile as Moray businesses look to 2011 »
06 December 2010Scottish Government announces multimillion pound affordable homes scheme for Moray»
03 December 2010Moray task force launches survey to gauge impact of defence cuts on local businesses»
25 November 2010Moray task force discusses mitigation measures with Secretary of State for Scotland. »
23 November 2010Future for Kinloss»
23 November 2010Tourism in Moray»
18 November 2010Moray task force calls for answers»
17 November 2010Local children deliver pleas for help to First Minister»
16 November 2010Obama advisor supports business community find opportunities in changing North economy»
10 November 2010First Minister tells cabinet colleagues the battle has begun »
07 November 2010Hollywood star backs Moray bases campaign»
05 November 2010Moray campaigners take 'compelling case' for RAF Lossiemouth to Westminster»
05 November 2010Partnership action agreed to mitigate Moray economic blow »
05 November 2010Role of voluntary and community groups crucial in minimising MoD fallout»
04 November 2010Moray meeting to examine impact on essential services»
03 November 2010Call for public to join RAF base threat march»
01 November 2010Moray Task Force calls for community insight to counter a 'commuter' Tornado presence in Scotland»
01 November 2010Convener 'disappointed' at PM's lack of response»
28 October 2010Moray Task Force build case for RAF Lossiemouth»
27 October 2010First Minister has written to UK Defence Secretary regarding the RAF bases in Moray »
27 October 2010First Minister says fight for Moray bases is an issue of national importance»
21 October 2010Moray Task Force quizzes Secretary of State for Scotland over RAF base closures and calls for PM to face communities»
20 October 2010New task force will lead Moray fight to protect Kinloss economy and save Lossiemouth jobs»
19 October 2010Moray community and business leaders join forces to secure economic future»