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Swinney meets Moray Economic Partnership and welcomes FirScot expansion plans

21 July 2011

Moray company to create eight new jobs in Forres

Finance Secretary John Swinney today met with the Moray Economic Partnership to discuss the social and economic implications of the UK Basing Review on communities around RAF Kinloss and Lossiemouth.

During his visit, the Cabinet Secretary also welcomed the announcement that FirScot Ltd, a Moray engineering service company, is expanding its operations in Forres and creating eight new skilled manufacturing jobs. The company's plans are being supported with £193,000 of funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The meeting with board members of the Moray Economic Partnership (MEP), business and community leaders, followed Monday's announcement by the Defence Secretary that RAF Lossiemouth will be retained and that RAF Kinloss will become an Army base. Mr Swinney also called on the UK Government to ensure a smooth and quick transition of RAF Kinloss to an Army base to minimise the impact of the decision.

MEP was established to drive forward economic growth in Moray, during a period of uncertainty due to the UK Government's Basing Review process and today's visit was
part of the Scottish Government's ongoing support for communities affected by the Defence review.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said: "The UK Government's decision to retain RAF Lossiemouth is fantastic news and testament to the tireless campaigning of the Moray Economic Partnership and wider community.

"While we are bitterly disappointed with the Defence Secretary's decision to withdraw the RAF from Kinloss, we welcome the announcement that the site will become an Army base.

"Working with the community, the Scottish Government made the strong case for the retention of RAF Lossiemouth and Leuchars, and we continue to work closely and intensively with all communities affected by the outcomes of Westminster's Defence Basing Review.

"As we made clear, immediately after the announcement, these decisions have been taken by the UK Government. The Scottish Government will be pressing the UK Government strongly to live up to their responsibilities and engage with - as well as provide extra funding to - the individuals, businesses and communities affected by their announcement, including those affected by RAF Kinloss' transition to an army base.

"It is very important that the transition of RAF Kinloss into an Army base is as smooth and as quick as possible, and that it has minimum impact on the Moray community and economy.

"MEP was established to drive forward economic growth in Moray, during a period of uncertainty due to the UK Government's Basing Review process. Today's announcement that FirScot will expand its operations and create eight new jobs is great news for the local economy and demonstrates that Moray has the talent, skilled workforce and business support to deliver success.

"The Scottish Government and its national agencies will continue to do all we can to support the work of the Partnership and achieving our shared goal of a growing, vibrant Moray economy."

Moray Economic Partnership Chair Jim Royan said: "At this time of post-announcement relief it's crucial that we don't lose sight of the job still to be done. Our economy must never again be as defence dependant as it has been - we have to diversify.

"Today's announcement by FirScot shows that Moray is open for business and has the ideas, skilled workforce and support to make it happen. Clearly Mr Swinney's meeting with us here today reinforces this, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Scottish Government to this end."

The Scottish Government submission is available via the following link:

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