Assurances are being sought that Kinloss Barracks won’t face the axe when Government next reviews its military spending
A report in a recent national newspaper has suggested that troops based at Kinloss could be moved to England in a review of cuts.
SNP and Conservative representatives in Moray have responded.
Moray’s SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said: “It’s really not all that long ago that 39 Regiment was relocated to Moray following the closure of RAF Kinloss, and here we go once again with another local base at threat of closure.
“Previous Conservative governments made promises to our community that army personnel would be based at Kinloss after the Nimrods were scrapped and it would be a betrayal if Kinloss Barracks were set to close as part of another round of defence cuts.
“Moray has longstanding and strong links with our bases and those who serve are an important part of our local community – you can see the strength of that relationship over the years by the number of military families who have settled in Moray.
“The last time the future of Kinloss Barracks was cast into doubt in 2016, it was estimated that its closure would cost Moray’s economy almost £30m. Given the huge impact on our local economy and communities, the MoD must give urgent assurances that Kinloss Barracks is not set to be axed.”
The Council Leader in Moray, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, added: “The potential prospect of another base closure in Moray in a relatively short time since losing RAF Kinloss and reopening as a much smaller army barracks is deeply concerning.
“Any major reduction in military numbers or the closure of Kinloss Barracks would be both an economic shock and a shock to the local area, where we very much view the base and those working there as an integral part of the community.
“The past 18 months tackling the pandemic has also demonstrated very clearly the importance of our military personnel in civil contingency and if these reports are true then it feels far more like closing up rather than levelling up.”
Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross said: “It’s been disappointing to read so much speculation over the future of Kinloss Barracks from unconfirmed reports.
“Speculation is not only unhelpful but unsettling for the soldiers at the Barracks when they have a vital role as part of 39 Engineer Regiment.
“This week in Westminster I have been working constructively with the UK Government and Secretary of Defence to establish the reality, instead of leaping to political judgement as some have done.
“I will continue to make clear my support for Kinloss Barracks as a vital part of the Moray community, and I am reassured that the UK Government remains as committed as ever to a strong armed forces presence across Scotland.”
Forres SNP Councillor Aaron McLean, whose ward takes in Kinloss Barracks, said: “Everyone knows the importance of the bases to the Moray economy and the engineers are a very welcome part of our community.
“A reduction of the military footprint in Moray would make the economic recovery in the region substantially harder with the huge pressure that is already on it at this time.”