SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson has called on the Ministry of Defence to undertake an economic impact assessment of its basing decisions after a parliamentary question revealed that plans to dramatically reduce the number of military personnel at Kinloss would result in an annual wage underspend in the community of £18.3m.
Mr Robertson has welcomed the planned relocation of 39 Engineer Regiment to Kinloss in 2012, but expressed concern over the impact of reduced manpower numbers at the base, and neighbouring RAF Lossiemouth, on the local economy.
Mr Robertson said:
“While it is welcome news that there is to be an Army personnel transfer to Kinloss, it is clear that the reduction in military personnel will result in a significant annual loss to the local economy.
“With unanswered questions over an additional manpower reduction at neighbouring RAF Lossiemouth, the UK Government must take responsibility for its decisions. UK Ministers must undertake an economic assessment of the impact these reductions will have on the local economy and community.
“The Moray economy is the most defence dependent in the country and has suffered terribly through the closure announcement of Kinloss as an RAF base by the UK government and the delay in confirming plans for Army use.
“While welcoming the troops who will move to Moray, it is a regrettable that the manning totals are so significantly reduced.”