SNP representatives in Moray have responded to reports that Kinloss Barracks could be at risk of closure as part of the Conservative Government’s latest defence review.
Moray’s SNP MSP Richard Lochhead (pictured) 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 SNP Council Leader in Moray, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said:
“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.”
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.”