'LAST month I met with the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, and pressed for the relocation of the Black Watch regiment to the soon to be expanded Leuchars base in Fife. Bringing the Black Watch home to its historic recruiting grounds in Fife and Tayside would be a welcome move.
The Black Watch is a regiment synonymous with Scotland’s rich military history, and the importance of a move back to Tayside and Fife will not be lost on the Defence Secretary as he grew up in Perthshire and studied at university in Fife.
As part of the review into defence spending and basing, Scottish facilities are set to see a substantial amount of support and funding which will help meet the needs of a changing military.
In addition to an expanded Leuchars becoming the main base for the army in Scotland there are other investments being made right across the country. There will be £1.3 billion pounds of investment into upgrades at HM Naval Base in Clyde. This will include additional accommodation, engineering support and security ahead of the arrival of the Dreadnought class of submarine. And in the north, Lossiemouth is due to see £400 million of funding to become one of the RAF’s three main fast jet bases.
There are 14,000 military regular and reserve personnel in Scotland as well as an additional 3,930 MoD civilians. Their combined economic footprint is important for the towns and villages surrounding these bases and an expanded Leuchars will be important for the local Fife economy.
The defence industry is particularly important in Fife and MoD employment is responsible for 8.5% of all jobs in the area. With the construction of the two new aircraft carriers taking place at Rosyth and Raytheon in Glenrothes providing high-skilled, well paid careers, Fife more than meets the challenge of supporting our armed services in the 21st century.
Scottish soldiers, airman and sailors were recently remembered for their ultimate sacrifice in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a new memorial to those who lost their lives was unveiled in London. Hundreds of men and women from Fife went overseas to fight during these conflicts and it is only right that their work is remembered. It is important that these monuments commemorate the bravery of Scottish soldiers whilst also recognising the tremendous sadness associated with these conflicts. The military is very important to this part of this world and I would call on the Government to continue to support its presence in Fife'.
Murdo Fraser MSP always welcomes feedback from constituents. He can be contacted at The Control Tower, Perth Airport, Scone, PH2 6PL, by email on Murdo.Fraser.firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01738 553990.