UK military expected to shrink further in years ahead
THE NUMBER of military personnel in Scotland has shrunk faster than anywhere else in the UK over the last year, according to new statistics released by the Ministry of Defence.
The quarterly location statistics found that the “biggest change between 1 July 2014 and 1 July 2015 was to Scotland with a decrease of 990 from 10,390 to 9,400”.
Fife suffered the largest drop of personnel due to the closure of the airforce base at RAF Leuchars. In total the latest reduction represents a 21 per cent drop in Scottish-based UK military personnel over the past five years.
Commenting on the figures, Brendan O’Hara MP, SNP defence spokesperson said: “These figures make for alarming reading – and confirm the continued, disproportionate cuts that successive Westminster governments have made to Scotland’s defence footprint.”
He continued: “The Tories claim that they are the party of defence and yet we see time after time – they cut the defence footprint in Scotland to the bone to the point where we are left in the ridiculous situation in Scotland as a maritime nation without a single maritime patrol aircraft to defend our waters and without the proper conventional naval vessels based in Scotland, whilst Westminster is hell bent on renewing Scotland’s nuclear arsenal.”
Civilian employment with the Ministry of Defence has also been cut substantially in Scotland (down 20 per cent in three years to 3,770 staff).
Between 2000 and 2010, cuts to personnel in Scotland was measured at 27.9 per cent compared to 11.6 per cent across the UK.
UK military personnel numbers have gradually declined. This decline is expected to continue as part of the latest Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Prior to the General Election, Professor Malcolm Chalmers estimated that budget cuts and the cost of Trident nuclear weapons would lead to 30,000 more job losses in the military.
The new statistics also revealed that the UK has 190 military and civilian personnel in the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia.
Picture courtesy of Gregor Maclennan