The SNP yesterday condemned UK government defence cuts after official figures revealed almost 2,000 Ministry of Defence (MoD) jobs have gone from Scotland in the past six years.
Figures disclosed in an answer to a SNP freedom of information request disclosed that there has been a 12.3 per cent reduction in the MOD headcount north of the Border.
According to the data ,there were 15,880 military and civilian MoD posts north of the border in April 2012.
That had fallen to 13,930 in April this year, a reduction of 1,950 – the equivalent of 12.3 per cent.
The statistics, which were provided by the MoD and broken down by local authority area, showed that South Ayrshire had lost all 100 of its military posts and was left with just 20 civilian employees. Other areas to be hit hard were Edinburgh which lost 500 military jobs and Fife, which lost 520 MoD jobs in total.
The SNP warned that the situation would get worse as a result of UK government plans to reduce the military footprint in Scotland. Two years ago the UK government announced that eight military sites in Scotland would close in the 16 years, cutting the defence estate by 20 per cent.
The bases earmarked for closure included famous barracks such as Fort George in the Highlands, Glencorse Barracks, near Penicuik, and Redford Cavalry Barracks and Redford Infantry Barracks in Edinburgh. Others on the list were Stirling’s Meadowforth Barracks, Naval base MoD Caledonia in Rosyth, Craigiehall Barracks in Edinburgh and Forthside Barracks in Stirling.
The closures, which will take place over the next few years, represent a 20 per cent cut to the Scottish defence estate. They are among 56 sites which were announced for closure across the UK.
Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd said: “These are devastating figures, which reveal the extent of MoD cuts upon Scotland. There’s barely a community that isn’t being hammered, as the Tories grind down our armed forces, hollow out Scotland’s proud military past and spare little thought for local communities and the jobs that depend on the military.”
Scottish Conservative MP Douglas Ross said the UK government had invested heavily in defence. He said: “The SNP have conveniently forgotten that the UK government has invested heavily in defence locations across Scotland.
“You only have to look at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray to see that. Millions of pounds and hundreds more personnel. Hardly the bleak picture the SNP want to create. The fact is that the main threat to our military capability and the jobs that depend on it is the SNP policy of Scottish independence.”