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No assurances over Kinloss Barracks in Moray, says Richard Lochhead


By Alistair Whitfield

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Moray's MSP says the UK Government has failed to give any assurances that Kinloss Barracks will not close.

Kinloss Barracks is used by the 39th Engineer Regiment.
Kinloss Barracks is used by the 39th Engineer Regiment.

Richard Lochhead wrote to the Ministry of Defence to ask whether barracks could face the axe under the Conservative Government’s latest defence review.

The move followed a report in the Sunday Times newspaper that 39 Engineer Regiment could be relocated from Moray to England under plans to cut costs.

Mr Lochhead claims the reply to his letter suggests the barracks are still "in the mix".

He said :"The response I have now received from the Ministry of Defence fails to rule out the possibility of Kinloss being axed, which is extremely concerning.

"Promises have been made to our communities by previous Conservative Government’s that army personnel would be based at Kinloss after they scrapped the Nimrods.

"There should be no questions over the barrack’s future and the Minister should have be giving people in Moray that assurance."

Richard Lochhead during last year's Scottish Election campaign. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Richard Lochhead during last year's Scottish Election campaign. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Mr Lochhead continued: "It’s only a few years ago that the engineers were relocated to Moray after the Tories closed RAF Kinloss.

"It would be a complete betrayal if Kinloss Barracks are to be axed as part of the this review.

"Conservative Ministers could choose to end speculation over the future of Kinloss immediately, but they’ve failed to do so and the community will be deeply concerned by that."

It has been estimated that Kinloss Barracks is worth around £30m to Moray’s economy.

The reply to Mr Lochhead was penned by Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for Defence Procurement.

He wrote: "Thank you for your letter regarding recent reports about Kinloss Barracks and your welcome desire to retain a strong UK Armed Forces presence in Scotland in general and Moray in particular.

"Since the Secretary of State for Defence launched the Defence Command Paper in March this year, the Army has been getting on with implementing the outcomes of the Integrated Review, including designing a force structure that is fit to face future threats.

"It is expected that these details will be announced later this year.

"In the meantime, whilst I can appreciate the uncertainty you and your constituents are feeling, I can assure you that news reports regarding closures to Army bases in Scotland are but speculation, as no final decisions following the Integrated Review have yet been made.

"The importance of having a presence in Scotland is absolutely recognised by Defence, and the Army remains committed.

Jeremy Quin, the Minister of State for Defence Procurement.
Jeremy Quin, the Minister of State for Defence Procurement.

"The MOD fully recognises the vital economic importance, as well as the resilience and security value of the UK Armed Forces in Scotland (and indeed UK Defence procurement in Scotland).

"I look forward to our future basing plans being published.

"In the meantime I know you will be reassured by the significant investment we are making in RAF Lossiemouth."



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