About the task force
On Tuesday 19 October 2010, the Prime Minister gave a statement to Parliament, setting out the direction of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), confirming the cancellation of the Nimrod contract. As a result, the Ministry of Defence confirmed its intention to withdraw the RAF from Kinloss. The long-term future of the base and of RAF Lossiemouth was uncertain, pending decisions by the UK Government.
As Moray's local economy is heavily reliant on the RAF, these decisions have considerable social and economic implications for Moray and NE Scotland. On Wednesday 20 October 2010, the Moray Task Force, comprising representatives of the public, private, community and voluntary sectors, was set up to represent local interests and spearhead campaigning efforts to save RAF Lossiemouth and safeguard the local economy now and for the future.
Background to the campaign
On Tuesday 19 October 2010, the Prime Minister gave a statement to Parliament, setting out the direction of the Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR), confirming the cancellation of the Nimrod contract. As a result, the Ministry of Defence confirmed its intention to withdraw the Nimrod MRA4 programme. The long-term future of the base at Kinloss and of RAF Lossiemouth remains uncertain, pending decisions by the UK Government.
Kinloss celebrated its 70th anniversary as a home to the Armed Forces in July this year and the reaction in Moray demonstrates the huge emotional blow that has been dealt to its community. Moray's local economy is heavily reliant on the RAF and these decisions have considerable social and economic implications for Moray and NE Scotland.
On Wednesday 20 October 2010, the Moray task force, comprising representatives of the public, private, community and voluntary sectors, was set up to represent local interests and spearhead campaigning efforts over the coming weeks.
Purpose of the task force
The task force is deeply disappointed by the decision to cancel the Nimrod contract and withdraw the RAF from Kinloss. We will present a robust case for retaining a strong defence presence in Moray. We will coordinate assistance for people directly affected by the RAF Kinloss closure, and try to retain skills in the Moray area to help the local economy.
A major concern is that if there was a delay in re-use of the base, it would be effectively mothballed - this would simply be too long for many businesses to survive. We strongly call for the RAF to continue to be based at RAF Kinloss at the very least until a decision is made on its future but ideally until the Army can move in.
We will press the UK Government for responsible withdrawal of the RAF from Kinloss. We will make a strong case for a transition plan to allow the RAF to stay in the area until any opportunities can be realised. We will also advocate the need for mitigating economic measures to assist Moray to deal with this blow to our community.
We aim to support the campaign to save RAF Lossiemouth
- We will campaign strongly against the closure of Lossiemouth as an RAF facility.
We are drawing up a detailed submission to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Defence making the case for the retention of RAF Lossiemouth. Work is now well underway to revisit the economic argument for retaining RAF Lossiemouth. The economic aspect of this work is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise with assistance from the Scottish Government's Office of the Chief Economic Adviser (OCEA). This will emphasise the enormous social and economic price tag of the loss of both bases in Moray.
- We need as much help as we can get to mobilise political and community support for the retention of the base, as we believe that there is a very small window of opportunity to influence UK Government decision-making. Go to our Get involved page to find out how you can support the campaign »
Support from the Scottish Government
The Moray task force welcomes the active support of the Scottish Government for its campaign. The Scottish Government is providing practical assistance for the group's work with teams based both here in Moray and elsewhere, offering advice, communications support, economic expertise and other issues.
The Moray task force members
Initial members of the task force include:
- Elliot Robertson, Chief Executive, Robertson Homes
- George McNeil and Lesley Ann Parker, Moray Chamber of Commerce
- Mike Duncan, Federation of Small Business
- Alastair Kennedy, Chair of Joint Community Councils
- Councillor George McIntyre, Convenor Moray Council
- Eileen Bush, Voluntary Action Moray
- Alastair Keddie, Chief Executive, Moray Council
- Calum MacPherson, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
- Anthony Standing, Skills Development Scotland
Moray task force intensified the strength and commitment of its campaign to retain the RAF presence in Moray by doubling its membership. It now also includes (as of 14 January 2011):
- Forres based employers
- Lossie Action Group
- Lossie Business Association
- Community Planning Partnership (NHS, Police, Fire)
- Moray Council Party Leaders
- Highland Council
- Moray Social Enterprise Network
- The Northern Scot
- Union representation
To contact the task force please email firstname.lastname@example.org