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'Scotland battered in defence review'

The Herald Scotland says that Scotland is today placed on the front line of the Coalition Government's defence cuts, after David Cameron announced the biggest paring back of Britain's military forces for a generation to help reduce the record budget deficit:

The Prime Minister confirmed warships, fighter jets, 17,000 armed forces personnel and 25,000 Ministry of Defence staff will go, meaning the UK will no longer be able to mount military operations on the scale of the current intervention in Afghanistan or the invasion of Iraq.

RAF Kinloss in Moray is to close as an airforce base with 1500 military staff facing redundancy as the contract for the new Nimrod spy plane is cancelled at a loss of £3 billion to the taxpayer.

Suggestions have been made that troops being redeployed from Germany could be housed at Kinloss, including the Highlanders, but Labour claims this is unfeasible as it would cost billions of pounds.

The axe still hangs over nearby RAF Lossiemouth, which appears to be in a battle for survival against RAF Marham in Norfolk. Both are home to Tornado jets.

A fresh review of bases – due to report early next year – means question marks still hang over other Scottish facilities such as Craigiehall, the Army command post outside Edinburgh, and Fort George – the home of the Black Watch, near Inverness.

Whitehall sources have, meanwhile, suggested RAF Leuchars in Fife, which accommodates Typhoon fighter jets, and Condor in Arbroath, home to 45 Commando, are safe. Also untouched are the six battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Last night, Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster, who represents Moray, said losing both Kinloss and Lossiemouth would be "a disaster for defence in Scotland, in general, and Moray in particular" as it would mean a 25% cut in Scottish military posts from 12,000 to 9000...

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