Rhoda : Range jobs need to be safeguarded

26 July 2016

Commenting on the news that 19 of the 148 posts are being reviewed at the UK's largest missile range in the Hebrides as part of a UK-wide review by Ministry of Defence (MoD) Contractor, QinetiQ, Labour's Rural Economy spokesperson, Rhoda Grant, said,

"This is deeply worrying news.

“ These jobs are vital for the economy and the future prospects of the area.

“ I understand that of the 19 jobs under threat in the Western Isles, six could go completely with the others transferred to other locations.

“I understand two posts at the BUTEC range are also under threat.”

Mrs Grant continued ,

"QinetiQ has sought to reduce its UK workforce of 6,210 by about 200 and this is not the first time jobs at the Hebrides range have been under threat.

“In 2009, the UK government proposed job cuts at the Range and its associated sites in the islands however that plan was thankfully abandoned after a strong fight by the Hebrides Range Task Force.

“At that time, the proposal was to cut 125 jobs as part of a wider programme of defence savings aimed at reducing MoD costs by £40m.

"The MP was aware then of the proposals to cut these jobs and did nothing.

“I want to know what he knows about these latest proposed cuts and what he is going to do to ensure these jobs don't go from the islands.

“The SNP is centralising jobs right, left and centre - we simply cannot allow Westminster to introduce cuts of around 13% of the total range workforce in the Western Isles by moving some of these jobs off the island.

“I will be speaking to the Comhairle, to Storas Uibhist and to Cllr Donnie Steele, all of whom were heavily involved with the Hebrides Range Task Force previously.”