Whitehall U-turn on jets

With growing media reports that the UK Government is preparing to u-turn on the stationing of RAF JSF fast jets in Scotland, the Scottish National Party has said “this perfectly illustrates why Scotland should make its own defence decisions”.

The Ministry of Defence has already announced RAF Lossiemouth as the preferred base for the JSF aircraft, but it now appears that UK Ministers will u-turn in favour of RAF Marham in Norfolk.

The UK Government is currently in the process of closing two out of three Scottish airbases and reducing the future military capability to only one aircraft type.

Westminster SNP Leader and Defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP said:

“The UK Government continues to make damaging defence decisions for Scotland. Having closed two thirds of Scotland’s airbases they look set to u-turn on aircraft deployment. Amazingly, this would leave Scotland with only one aircraft type.

“Taxpayers in Scotland contribute £3bn every year to the Ministry of Defence and nearly one third is not spent here. Meanwhile we have massive capability gaps with no maritime patrol aircraft, transport aircraft and the last military helicopters are being phased out.

“All of our comparable independent northern European neighbours have these capabilities to provide for territorial defence, aid to the civil power and international commitments.

“The situation in Scotland is utterly crazy and underlines why we should make defence decisions like other normal countries. On independence we would inherit operational facilities in Scotland and then be able to provide the appropriate capabilities. This is infinitely better than leaving things to Whitehall which prefers to cut facilities in Scotland, redirect billions of pounds elsewhere and not reflect priorities here."