SNP National Conversation Paper prompts challenge on scale of Moray RAF Rundown after Independence

21 August 2007

Richard Lochhead MSP has been challenged to answer a series of questions and to reveal the scale of the rundown of RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth after independence, following publication of the SNP's 'National Conversation' paper.

The challenge is contained in a detailed letter analysing the SNP policy on defence and asking key questions of vital importance to the future of Moray, from Labourís Highlands and Islands Regional MSP, Peter Peacock.

He said, "Alex Salmond is determined to use the government's resources to plan for independence and he says he wants a conversation with the Scottish people, well part of that conversation means he and his colleagues need to come clean on the implications for Moray jobs if he gets his way.

"My letter covers similar ground to one I sent during the election and which the SNP failed to address.

"They need to address it now and won't get away with hiding from these important matters any more.

"The letter invites the SNP to be honest and open about how many Nimrods and fighter aircraft they believe will be left after independence and what the implications will be for local jobs and property values."

Peter Peacock has worked through the SNP negotiating stance and posed a series of detailed questions, to which he is seeking answers "so that the people of Moray and Scotland more widely who depend on the RAF can see what the future might hold."

He added, "For years the people of Moray have felt able to support the SNP at the polls.

"Until now they did so in the knowledge there would not be an SNP government.

"Well now the SNP government have to start answering the questions they have consistently failed to answer in the past.

"One consequence for Moray, of independence is likely to be the loss of their job, that of their neighbour, a relative or friend.

"I look forward to very detailed and an early response to my letter.

"If the SNP again fail to answer, I intend to ask the questions again and again and again."

In his letter, Peacock sets out in detail a scenario that may follow any decision to go for what he described as the "potentially appalling consequences for Moray of independence. "

His letter predicts that the most likely outcome would be a reduction in Nimrods from around 15 to, at most, 2.

"This would be a higher share of the Nimrod fleet than Scotlandís share of the UKís population."

Peter Peacock then asks how many fewer staff would be required to service and operate 2 Nimrods, compared to around 15 currently.

He has copied his letter to Moray Trades Council and asked them if the SNP have ever made clear the jobs impact of their proposals.


Text of Peter Peacock's letter to Richard Lochhead >>>


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