Scottish Secretary Alister Jack to visit RAF Lossiemouth

Visit comes after UK Government outlined a major overhaul of the armed forces.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack to visit RAF Lossiemouth Contributed

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack will stress the importance of Scotland to UK and Nato defence on a visit to an RAF base north of the border.

His visit to RAF Lossiemouth in Moray on Tuesday comes a day after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace outlined a major overhaul of the armed forces, confirming the Army will shrink by around 10,000 troops.

As part of the plans, RAF Lossiemouth will become home to three early warning and surveillance E-7 Wedgetail aircraft in 2023, which Mr Wallace said is “more capable fleet” than the current E-3D Sentry and would “transform the United Kingdom early warning and control capabilities, as well as contributing to Nato”.

Speaking ahead of his visit on the day the UK Government publishes its defence and security industrial strategy, Jack said this paper, together with the Defence Secretary’s announcement and last week’s review of security and international policy “demonstrate powerfully how important defence is to Scotland – and how important Scotland is to the defence of the UK and, indeed, our Nato allies”.

He will say these are “clear and credible plans as to how we will modernise and adapt the posture of our Armed Forces, supported by additional UK Government investment of £24bn, over the next four years”.

“This will see Scotland benefit from increased investment and skilled jobs in traditional areas such as shipbuilding, and in rapidly developing areas such as cyber and space,” the Scottish Secretary will add.

“UK defence and Scotland enjoy a special two-way relationship: the UK brings key security and economic benefits to Scotland; Scottish military and civilian personnel at establishments across the nation are home to military capabilities, vital to the UK and its Nato allies.”

He will continue: “Alone, no one part in our union can protect its citizens from the new threats we face and prosper economically and socially.

“But together, all parts of the UK will take full advantage of the opportunities that lie before us.”

Responding to the Defence Secretary’s statement in the House of Commons on Monday, SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald criticised plans to increase the UK’s nuclear stockpile.

He said: “We think that is an expensive folly that should be cancelled with immediate effect.”

He also called for a “real and proper” pay rise for service personnel.

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