Veterans Secretary Keith Brown has again called on the Ministry of Defence to reverse its plans to close Glencorse Barracks by 2032.
While in Midlothian to attend the launch of a Women’s Enterprise Scotland project at the 150 year old base near Penciuik, Mr Brown revealed he has written to the new Defence Secretary regarding the proposals. He said: “During the time I’ve spent in and around Glencorse I am also continually reminded about the close links between those living and working at the barracks, and the local communities in Midlothian and beyond.
“That is one of the reasons why I have repeatedly expressed my strong opposition to the Ministry of Defence’s proposals to close Glencorse .
“These barracks have been an army base for almost 150 years and have been home to 2 SCOTS, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, since 2006. The barracks are a modern facility, having received significant investment relatively recently (2006), and are integral to the local community and economy. The decision by the Ministry of Defence to close them therefore seems particularly ill thought through.
“One year on since the original announcement and in spite of the numerous written requests I made to then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and his Ministers – we know little more now than we did then about the local economic impact of the closure or indeed where 2 SCOTS will be moved to within Scotland. I have no doubt this is causing uncertainty for service personnel, their families and much of the local community.
“Three weeks ago I wrote to the new Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, pressing for assurances that there will be no further cuts to the defence footprint in Scotland.
“I asked again that the MoD engage in open dialogue with the Scottish Government and local councils to provide answers to the many questions outstanding around the proposed closures, and I will continue to press the Defence Secretary.
“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Midlothian Council and, more widely all of the communities in Scotland potentially affected by the MoD’s ill- conceived plans, and in my roles as Veterans Minister and Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, I will continue to press the UK Government for a positive resolution.”
An MOD spokesman said: “Glencorse Barracks is due to close by 2032 as part of our Better Defence Estate strategy, which will deliver a more efficient, modern and capability focused defence estate. We have an enduring defence presence in Scotland, where we continue to invest heavily in estates, infrastructure, equipment and people.
“We are one of the biggest landowners in Scotland, with an estate more than eight times the size of Glasgow.”