The Ministry of Defence have confirmed that key decisions on the future of RAF bases in Scotland have been taken and an announcement is due imminently.
In response to a question from SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said:
“Having taken a number of those key decisions over the weekend, I hope that we shall be making progress very shortly. We regard the military elements as having paramount importance, but we also understand the other (arguments).”
The Scottish Government has argued that any further cuts to Scotland’s military personnel or closure of RAF Leuchars or Lossiemouth would be unjustifiable on economic and defence grounds.
Commenting after the exchange, Mr Robertson said:
“Our defence dependent communities have endured almost a year of uncertainty and await this decision with baited breath.
“RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Leuchars are of national importance to Scotland and the Ministry of Defence must recognise the overwhelming defence, social and economic case for retaining both bases in their Basing Review.
“The announcement of the closure of RAF Kinloss has already dealt a devastating blow to Moray, and the delay in the decision on the future of RAF Lossiemouth has created real uncertainty for local people.
“The UK Government’s Strategic Defence Review will have a deep-seated impact on Fife and Moray, our only remaining front line air bases in Scotland. Since 1997, Scotland has lost more than 10,000 defence jobs and in that time the UK Government has spent £5.6 billion less than our fair share of MoD spend on defence.
“In reaching a decision on the future of Scottish bases the Ministry of Defence must address this decline and not add to it.”