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7 November 2016, 18:38
Eight military sites in Scotland will close in the next 15 years, cutting the defence estate by 20%.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said major Army bases at Fort George near Ardersier, north of Inverness, Glencorse Barracks near Penicuik, Midlothian, and Redford Cavalry and Infantry Barracks in Edinburgh are among more than 56 sites to shut across the UK.
Naval base MoD Caledonia in Rosyth, Fife, Condor Airfield, near Arbroath, Angus, Craigiehall Barracks in Edinburgh and Forthside Barracks in Stirling will also close.
Sir Michael told the House of Commons military bases would instead be at ``fewer, better locations'' in Scotland.
He said: "In Scotland this strategy will result in investment being concentrated into fewer, better locations.
"Our proposals will release eight sites over the next 15 years.
"We will invest in main centres of specialisation.''
But Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the closure of eight of Scotland's 22 military facilities is a ``huge blow'' for the country.
He said: "These brutal cuts spell the near total removal of the Army from large parts of Scotland and the end of the Royal Navy's presence in Fife.
"It is deeply distressing to witness the announcement to close truly historic sites, such as Glencorse, home to the Army for almost 150 years, and Fort George, a garrison for almost 250 years.
"The decision to cut these historic ties will be met with understandable anger in Fife, Midlothian, the Highlands and throughout Scotland. These cuts will have far-reaching economic and social impacts, placing jobs at risk, both directly and indirectly.
"Despite our best efforts, the UK Government has continually refused to engage with the Scottish Government ahead of these decisions being taken. It is vital that we now understand what this means in terms of personnel numbers and I call on the MoD to guarantee that Army units are not further diminished or moved out of Scotland altogether.
"Scottish ministers and local communities have clearly set out our opposition to these cuts - it is deeply disappointing that Scotland's views have not been taken on board.''