The Scottish National Party has reacted to a Ministry of Defence announcement of specific defence cuts, including significant redundancies, saying they are “very unwelcome and badly timed given the current global instability”.
Amongst the cuts announced is the early disbandment of 14 Squadron of Tornado GR4 aircraft, based at RAF Lossiemouth in the Moray constituency of Westminster SNP Leader and Defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP.
On hearing the MOD statement Mr Robertson said: “These defence cuts are very unwelcome and badly timed given the current global instability.
“Many servicemen and servicewomen as well as civilian staff are just learning that they face personal redundancy. It is an awful time for them and their families.
“It is also a sad day for 14 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth which faces early disbandment. While it was clear in the Strategic Defence and Security Review that Tornado squadron numbers were set to be reduced it will still be very disappointing to everybody at 14 Squadron, which has been in operation since 1915.”
Mr Robertson attacked reductions in manpower and spending in Scotland and called on the MOD to confirm its plans as soon as possible in order to alleviate uncertainty.
He added: “Scotland has already suffered disproportionate manpower, spending and basing cuts in recent years which should now stop. The Ministry of Defence must speed up its basing announcement to give certainty to communities and end unnecessary economic damage.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead described the handling of the cuts issue as ‘cack handed’ and accused the UK coalition of drip feeding bad news.
The SNP MSP said: “The whole cuts issue has been handled in a cack handed way by the Conservative-led government at Westminster. They have delayed their basing decision which continues uncertainty in Moray about RAF Lossiemouth, but they are prepared to continue dripping out bad news about other cuts.
“The MOD must wake up to the fact that they are causing massive economic damage and distress to the service and non-service community alike.
“My heart goes out to everyone at 14 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth. It is ironic that they took the lead in the recent Homecoming parade in Elgin which was attended by thousands of people to show their support. Every effort now needs to be made to absorb the Squadron personnel elsewhere at RAF Lossiemouth.
“All local campaigners will be redoubling our efforts to retain RAF Lossiemouth as an air force base.”