Assurances sought over Scotland’s military future

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Calls have been made for the Defence Secretary to provide assurances over the future of the military in Scotland during an expected visit to the country.

Gavin Williamson MP is set to travel to RAF Lossiemouth on Thursday to mark the beginning of construction of a £132 million aircraft facility.

A Typhoon taking off from RAF Lossiemouth. Picture: Ministry of Defence

A Typhoon taking off from RAF Lossiemouth. Picture: Ministry of Defence

Scotland’s Economy Secretary Keith Brown has called for “urgent assurances” on defence sites and the future of the Royal Marines in Scotland.

Mr Brown said: “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is now in the midst of a further review which has resulted in speculation about the future of the Royal Marines in Arbroath.

“I urge the Defence Secretary to end those fears once and for all by providing clear assurances about Royal Marine numbers and their long term future at RM Condor, and to confirm that there will be no further cuts to Scottish bases, personnel numbers, or their ability to carry out essential training.”

He added he has written to Mr Williamson about a proposed base closure programme in Scotland, raising concerns about uncertainty for personnel and families.

During his visit, the Defence Secretary is expected to announce “significant investment” to protect the United Kingdom, create jobs and increase the number of armed forces in Scotland.

An MoD spokesman said: “The UK Government is committed to an enduring defence presence in Scotland with more than 20,000 service personnel and MOD civilian staff, spending £1.6bn a year with Scottish industry, supporting 10,500 Scottish private sector jobs and ensuring that Clyde shipyards have 20 years’ worth of work.

“While the UK Government is investing in Scotland, the Scottish Government is increasing the taxes of 8,000 Armed Forces personnel based at or from Scotland. The UK Government is looking to counter these tax rises.”