UK DEFENCE BUDGET plans must include a greater allocation for Scotland than has been the case in previous reviews to make some ground on under-investment.
That is the view being expressed ahead of the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) that is expected to be announced by Westminster in the near future.
Moray MP Angus Robertson has been campaigning for several years in the hope of securing a better deal for defence spending, in particular given that Scotland’s only remaining operational RAF base is in his Moray constituency as is the former RAF, now Army, base at Kinloss.
Speculation has been rife over the nature of the SDSR and the impact it may have on Scotland and in particular Moray, which Mr Robertson has said has suffered disproportionate cuts for decades.
“In July, Michael Fallon promised that there would be no further cuts to the defence footprint in Scotland,” the Moray MP said, adding: “Cuts that one of his Tory predecessors had noted were already ‘disproportionately high’.
“He must keep to his word – or Tory credibility on Scottish defence will be fatally damaged.
“The SNP has long argued for a fair share of defence spending in Scotland instead of the cuts like the closure of RAF Kinloss, which was roundly condemned by locals here in Moray and defence experts alike. This defence review must address decades of Westminster cuts.”
Calling the UK Government record of defence spending in Scotland a “sorry tale”, the MP said that instead of committing around £167billion on renewing Trident the Government should be investing properly in conventional forces – including supporting troops in Moray and throughout Scotland.
He added: “We will be looking closely at the SDSR to ensure that any new deployments of personnel to Scottish bases will be based here permanently and entirely and not as part of a smaller detachment.
“The Defence Secretary has to contend with an effective parliamentary opposition to his plans – facing a strong group of SNP MPs who will hold him to account on his promises and commitments, and ensure that he goes further to address this historic underinvestment.
“Scotland has long contributed more, in people and pounds, than it has got back from the MoD – that should be properly acknowledged and value recognised.’’