NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Moray Council writes to David Cameron over RAF bases

David Cameron
Image caption Prime Minister David Cameron has been urged to come to Moray

Moray Council has written to Prime Minister David Cameron over fears for the area's two RAF bases.

It follows the decision to cancel the new Nimrod aircraft which will effectively close RAF Kinloss.

A task force has been set up to fight for the future of Kinloss, as well as RAF Lossiemouth which is also at risk.

The council's letter to Mr Cameron states: "We feel it is imperative that you visit Moray at the earliest opportunity."

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore told the task force, set up to fight for the retention of defence jobs in Moray, that he can make no promises.

Mr Moore met local politicians, community and business leaders, as well as personnel from the base on Thursday.

Mr Moore had earlier said he understood the anger and disappointment of the people of Moray.

The UK government announced on Tuesday it had cancelled the Nimrod replacement, effectively meaning the closure of RAF Kinloss.

It is understood that the Ministry of Defence could retain the site and may eventually use it as a barracks for soldiers returning from Germany.

Defence sources say the troops would not arrive until about 2015 at the earliest.

It is thought that a decision on the future of nearby RAF Lossiemouth, which is home to Tornado squadrons, could be taken within a month.

It is feared that the Tornado aircraft currently based at Lossiemouth could be transferred to RAF Marham.

Moray's two RAF bases contribute more than £150m to the local economy annually and support 5,700 jobs, according to a report in August by consultants hired by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The UK's coalition government has been outlining its cuts programme over the last few days. It focused firstly on defence budgets and then on wider public sector spending.

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