NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Moray RAF bases 'support thousands and worth millions'

Kinloss
Image caption Kinloss and the Moray area rely heavily on the RAF presence

Moray's two RAF bases contribute more than £150m to the local economy annually and support 5,700 jobs, according to a new report.

The figures about Lossiemouth and Kinloss have been published ahead of a full report for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

It is feared the bases could be at risk as part of the government's strategic defence review.

Moray Council said decision-makers had to consider the local consequences.

Calum MacPherson, HIE's area manager for Moray, said the two bases were "woven into the surrounding communities".

Consultants hired by HIE said that RAF personnel households accounted for 7% of the total Moray population, and that those homes contributed 10% of the state school roll.

The report's authors said Moray depended more on the military than possibly any other part of the UK.

Moray MP and SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said: "The importance of the RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth bases to the Moray economy is clearly significant.

"This information published by HIE adds to the already very strong strategic defence argument for the bases to be retained and highlights the strong links that exist between the bases and the wider Moray community."

The full report is still being finalised.

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