Monday, 17 August 2009

LABOUR UNDER FIRE OVER DISAPPEARING DEFENCE JOBS


9,500 SCOTTISH JOBS AXED SINCE 1997

CONCERN AS CONSULTATION CLOSES ON UIST RANGE

The UK Labour Government is under fire over official Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures which reveal that 9,500 Scottish defence jobs have been lost since Labour came to power.

MoD figures reveal there are now 1,930 fewer service jobs and 4,570 fewer civilian jobs in Scotland than there were in 1997 with a further 3,000 jobs based on direct MoD expenditure lost between 2002 and 2007.

The SNP seized on the revelations which come as a consultation over the future 125 jobs at a missile range in the Hebrides comes to a close.

Angus Robertson MP, the SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson, said:

“These figures expose the lie of Labour’s claimed support for defence jobs in Scotland - after twelve years in power almost ten thousand jobs have disappeared.

“As the consultation on the future of another 125 jobs at the missile range in the Hebrides closes this week, Ministers must be held to account over their commitment to defence jobs in Scotland .

“The irony is that Labour backbenchers line up to scaremonger about the future of defence jobs in an independent Scotland , but the facts show that it is the UK government that is closing bases and cutting jobs.”

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil echoed concerns as a consultation on plans by the MoD to halve the workforce at the missile range on South Uist and Benbecula and withdraw staff from its base on St Kilda, comes to a close on Thursday.

Mr MacNeil added:

“Labour’s record on Scottish defence jobs is rotten, and that is clearly worrying as the consultation on jobs at the Hebrides range comes to a close.

“The range is a cornerstone in the economy of our community - it is the largest employer in the Southern Isles chain.

“As the true extent of the devastation of Scotland ’s defence sector wrought by the Labour Government becomes apparent, UK Ministers should defend our defence sector for once.”

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