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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Questions Defence Secretary

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

FOX ADMITS SCOTLAND DISPROPORTIONATELY HIT BY DEFENCE CUTS

The decline in Scotland’s defence footprint must be addressed by the UK Government the SNP said today (Tuesday), after the Defence Secretary admitted, during an evidence session at the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, that Scotland had endured disproportionate cuts over the last decade.

Speaking during the session Defence Secretary Liam Fox admitted:

“I am aware of the fact that, between 2000 and 2010, the total reduction [in service jobs] was 11.6% but the reduction in Scotland was 27.9%, so over the decade there were bigger reductions made in personnel as a proportion than in other parts of the UK.”


Note that UK Parliament recordings use Microsoft technology which may not work on non-Windows devices

Seizing on the admission Scottish Affairs Committee member and Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Given the Defence Secretary’s admission that Scotland has already been hit by disproportionate defence cuts the UK Government should commit now, if it has any commitment to maintain a balanced defence footprint across the nations and regions of the UK, to the future of our remaining bases.

“Scotland has already endured mammoth defence cuts over the last decade, and every indication is that this will be compounded by decisions being taken within the Strategic Defence Review.

“Having just 2.1% of senior officers based in Scotland reflects the small number of military bases and uniformed personnel posted here as well as an absence of any permanent senior strategic command or training facilities.

“At present there are only 12,190 UK service-personnel in Scotland. Since the last defence review in 1997 there have been more than 10,500 defence job losses in Scotland and there has been a defence under-spend of at least £5.6 billion. This under-spend constitutes a 36% budget shortfall.

“Given these unacceptable circumstances it is unbelievable that the UK Government is still considering the closure of two thirds of the Air Force bases in Scotland and a 25% reduction in established Service personnel.

“The Ministry of Defence must decide whether it is committed to defence in Scotland.”


Note:

Details of the Defence Secretary’s session with the Scottish Affairs Select Committee can be found here:

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=8518

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