News story

Moore: Scotland stays front and centre in defence

The MoD's basing review will see a doubling of the Army presence in Scotland, as well as one third of the UK's main fast jet and naval bases

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Scotland will emerge from the basing review with well over 2,000 more armed forces personnel, more than doubling the Army’s presence and retaining a third of the UK’s fast jet main operating bases and main naval bases, the Secretary of State for Scotland said today (Monday 18 July).

The defence footprint in Scotland will increase significantly by more than 2,000 posts as a result of decisions made by the UK Government as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). This is in addition to 12,300 service personnel already based here, 5,300 civilian jobs in Scotland and thousands of skilled jobs in the defence industry.

It bolsters Scotland’s integral role in the defence and security of the United Kingdom, which continues to benefit from what remains one of the largest defence budgets in the world.

A £2 billion programme to rebase the Armed Forces currently in Germany will result in hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment in infrastructure on bases in Scotland as the Ministry of Defence reconfigures the long-term shape of the defence estate across the UK.

The main changes from the review, announced by the Defence Secretary Liam Fox in Westminster this afternoon, are:

  • A sustained and strengthened defence footprint in Moray, with Typhoon squadrons replacing Tornados at RAF Lossiemouth. The phased transition is expected to begin in 2013 and will see up to 2000 RAF and civilian staff based there. We are also planning to place Army units in Kinloss by around 2014/15.

  • A changed role for Leuchars, which will become home to a Formation Headquarters and two other major Army units. Troops will form part of a Multi Role Brigade formed by personnel returning from Germany. This will see an increase in numbers at the base, and will see Scotland become home to 20 per cent of the Army’s core fighting capability.

  • A major development of Kirknewton near Edinburgh into a purpose-built facility to accommodate Army units returning from Germany, with at least 1200 personnel. Other MRB units will be moved into Glencorse, Caledonia, Albemarle Barracks and eventually Arbroath, as over time the bulk of the Royal Marines will be brought together in the South West of England. The Craigiehall site and Redford and Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh are set to be vacated by the Army and sold.

  • Stirling will continue with its role as headquarters of 51 Brigade and Fort George, home to the Black Watch, is unaffected by the review.

These changes are in addition to other benefits arising from the strong secure defence role for Scotland:

  • An increase of 1,200 service personnel at HM Naval Base Clyde, home to the UK’s Trafalgar and Astute nuclear submarine fleet, and Scotland’s single largest employment site. The combined workforce on the base is currently 6,500 personnel.

  • Contracts for the aircraft carriers built at Scotstoun, Govan and Rosyth worth £1.3 billion to the economy, plus £1.25 billion through equipment sub-contracts throughout the UK. Work on the carriers is estimated to provide jobs for around 5000 people in Glasgow as well as hundreds of apprenticeships, and thousands of jobs in the supply chain. Today’s announcement gave the go-ahead for further work on the carriers.

The Secretary of State and Scotland Office officials have played a key role in the SDSR process, liaising with defence communities in Fife and Moray as well as submitting key economic evidence and advice to colleagues in the UK Government on behalf of Scotland.

Michael Moore, the Secretary of State for Scotland, said:

“The result of the basing review is good for Scotland and underlines the important part we play in keeping the UK safe and secure. “There have been many changes but Scotland will remain at the heart of the UK’s defence policy. I have fought hard to make Scotland’s case heard throughout the process and the news today means Scotland has a sustainable, strategic and strong future in defence.

“We will have a bigger overall defence footprint than before the review and that proves beyond doubt that the UK Government is committed to Scotland and its future role as part of the UK.

“The inevitable changes reflect the tough choices which have been taken but we will see the Army presence double and one of three fast jet bases and a third of the UK’s main naval bases remain here in Scotland.

“The fact Scotland will now have more defence personnel than before the review is a welcome result, especially against the backdrop of the £38 billion black hole we inherited in defence finances. In addition, Scotland will benefit from massive investment in infrastructure.”

Published 18 July 2011