Fife Labour leader Alex Rowley is calling on the MOD to provide ‘much needed clarity’ about their intentions for the deployment of Army personnel to both Leuchars and Rosyth in Fife .
As uncertainty grows around the MOD proposals following the news that the total strength of the Army will fall by a further 12,000 to 82,000, Mr Rowley said; “The Ministry of Defence are failing on their promises and we must have more clarity on the numbers and make up of the Army personnel that are to be deployed to Leuchars and Rosyth. I believe that Fife became a pawn in Liam Fox’s political manoeuvrings and the price was RAF Leuchars and we therefore cannot simply sit back and allow Fife to lose out on the Army promise as its latest restructuring exercise unfolds. What is not clear and never has been is the basis on which the decision was taken to remove the RAF from Leuchars. We now know that the alternative is millions of pounds more expensive in running costs and that the strategic defence case for RAF Leuchars was overwhelming.
The Fife Council opposition leader highlighted the fact that no information on the Army deployment to Fife has been given since the announcement that the RAF was to pull out while at the same time plans are proceeding at pace for the RAF to vacate the base. He said; “I believe that the promise of a large Army presence being deployed to Fife was made to soften the blow of us losing RAF Leuchars especially when there was no case for relocating it elsewhere and I now want to make sure that we hold them to that promise. Since the announcement the silence has been deafening and it is no longer acceptable.
Mr Rowley said that the Secretary of State for Defence can and should put an immediate end to the speculation and uncertainty by confirming the numbers of personnel and their families that are to be based at Leuchars and Rosyth. He added; “I have written to the Secretary of State asking him to confirm that he will keep the promise made by his predecessor to the people of Fife . I have also written to the Scottish Secretary asking him to push for confirmation and to join with the communities and politicians in Fife to make sure that we get the answers we seek.
He concluded; “I sincerely hope that they will confirm in early January the deployment of the Army to Leuchars and Rosyth, and begin to give us much more detail to allow us to plan for the Army personnel and their families as well as making sure that businesses across Fife are geared up to also take advantage of the opportunities that will come. If the answers are not forthcoming then we must mount a major campaign to hold the Tory Liberal government to the promise they have given the people of Fife ”.