The Secretary of State for Scotland will establish a response group within the Scotland Office to deal with issues faced by Moray as a result of the recent Defence Review.
During a meeting at the Council headquarters in Elgin today (Thursday 21 October), Michael Moore said he was setting up the group to ensure people in the area had access to information and support from across the relevant Westminster departments.
He met the Moray Community Planning Partnership along with a representative of Highland and Islands Enterprise and Moray politicians Angus Robertson MP and Richard Lochhead MSP.
The meeting covered a range of issues following the announcement by the Ministry of Defence that the contract for the next generation of Nimrod MRA4s, which were to be based at RAF Kinloss, would be cancelled as part of the review.
The future options for RAF Lossiemouth were also discussed and the Minister received a briefing on the Scottish Government’s Moray taskforce initiative. The Secretary of State also met the Base Commander of RAF Kinloss.
Speaking after the meeting, Moore said:
“I recognise Moray and its bases have received very bad news this week and that there is still uncertainty hanging over its future. This is a result of difficult decisions made by the government dealing with the largest deficit in peacetime.
“We know there is anger and worry among personnel, their families and the local communities whose economies are linked to the base. I made it clear again today, as the Deputy Prime Minister did earlier in the week, that the UK Government will not abandon the communities in Moray.
“The Scotland Office response group I have announced today is important as it will open up access to the relevant departments needed to support the area at this difficult point and beyond. I will ensure Moray’s voice is heard where it matters most.
“It is also important to underline no decision has yet been made on the future of Lossiemouth. I will continue to make the case for the base at the highest levels of government.”