Finance Secretary John Swinney has today endorsed a charter signed by Moray Economic Partnership (MEP) which pledges its members will work together to diversify the economy.
Representatives from the business and public sector organisations which make up MEP met with Mr Swinney and Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford following the full cabinet meeting being held in Elgin.
The Ministers were updated on progress to date on how Moray businesses, groups and public agencies are working together both to encourage community involvement in shaping the long term economic strategy and to deliver short term actions to reverse the impact of the uncertainty created by the RAF base review.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "During the meeting I reiterated the Scottish Government's support to businesses and communities understandably concerned about the impact of recent UK Government decisions affecting RAF Kinloss and Lossiemouth. I also expressed my support for the Partnership's new charter.
"This meeting was an important opportunity to hear MEP's views and their ideas to help mitigate any negative impacts during the transition of Kinloss into an army base. We will take forward some of these suggestions as part of our ongoing discussions with the UK Government.
"Scottish Government Ministers worked in partnership with the people of Moray throughout the successful campaign to save RAF Lossiemouth. Following Westminster's decision, we are focused on pressing the UK Government to provide some much-needed clarity on the transitional plans for all base realignments.
"In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with the Moray Economic Partnership to help maximise the economic opportunities that will arise from changes at the two Moray bases and to ensure these changes have a positive impact on the community."
Jim Royan, MEP chairman, said: "In the past ten months our communities have demonstrated enormous energy in moving forward from anxiety over the uncertainty we have faced to ambition on how we can seek new opportunities and grow our economy.
"The Finance Secretary John Swinney today formally endorsed the aims of the MEP which can help the community plan for the future. Our key themes are to have a plan of action and keep focused on it; to make early contact with the Army to support a smooth transition at RAF Kinloss; to take immediate steps to diversify to economy; and to engage in a meaningful way with the existing business community large and small to support business continuity, business efficiency and effective public/private sector relationship."
MEP partners updated the Ministers on activities undertaken so far to meet these aims. The partnership welcomed the announcement of an inward investment by Life Sciences business AccuNostics which is bringing approximately 30 jobs to Forres, a deal secured by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). MEP is part of the team who will be at all the Moray Economic Strategy consultation meetings throughout Moray this month. And the Convenor of Moray Council George McIntyre and MEP chairman Jim Royan have a meeting scheduled in the next few weeks with a senior army officer involved in determining the future of the Kinloss estate.
Moray Economic Partnership is ambitious about the social and economic future of Moray. As representatives of the private business and public sectors the members believe that Moray can achieve the best results by working together.
The membership brings together senior representatives from: