Moray task force calls for answers
18 November 2010
The task force supporting the community campaign to keep the RAF in Moray says action must be taken now to counter the impact of threatened defence cuts on the area.
The public agencies, businesses and community representatives which make up the Moray task force are already developing a package of measures to promote the area's assets and sustain local business confidence.
The uncertainty created by the strategic defence announcements is creating a state of 'limbo' in the area.
George McIntyre, Convener of Moray Council, said: "The MoD has said it will be months before a final decision will be made about the future of the bases. However, we know that personnel and contractors at RAF Kinloss are already being told which jobs are threatened. While the MoD goes about this process behind the RAF gates, Moray and the community which has had the RAF at its heart for 70 years, is being left in limbo."
"We have had no firm timescale from the MoD, there is no investment support in place from the Treasury, and measures needed to protect the region's future cannot wait until the Spring to be put in place.
"We know the excellent campaign from the Moray community has got the attention of national politicians and MoD officials. Now we need them to take action. Having announced the cancellation of the Nimrod there is a responsibility to protect our communities and our economy for the future."
Following a meeting with Scottish Government officials earlier this week and with local businesses and community groups yesterday, the task force is exploring a range of measures that will make a difference to people affected.
Calum MacPherson of HIE said: "The task force is focused on two strands of effort - supporting the campaign to keep the RAF in the area, and to do everything we can to reduce the impact of the proposed run down at Kinloss.
"The decision on the Nimrod has been met with disbelief from many in the defence world. We have been told there is no hope of reversing that decision. The task force will continue to put forward the many arguments for keeping the RAF in Moray, but we must also look at how we sustain local confidence.
"Currently, we are working in the dark, but with the right information we can work with governments to develop the best responses to the challenges we all face. We want to make sure we look at how we enhance and promote the advantages of living and working here, highlight suitable alternative jobs, attract new investment to the area and provide skills training that will allow us to keep the personnel and contractors working with the RAF in the area."
"We also want to hear from local people and businesses about what they think can be done now to help Moray, email email@example.com or leave a comment on the task force facebook page."
Within RAF Kinloss the task force is already working to support those who may be affected.
Anthony Standing, area manager for Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in Moray said: "SDS, together with JobCentrePlus, is continuing discussions with the Career Transition Partnership - a facility provided by the MoD to assist those facing the loss of their jobs to transfer to other careers. We are working to ensure that our services and proposed actions are integrated and that the people of Moray get best value for our combined efforts."
For those businesses or individuals outside of the bases who think they may be affected or who need help now for planning for the future, the task force has set up a helpline, call 08000 884 884. Find out about further support on our help and advice page.
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