The Moray Greens have come out strongly in support of the Forres Gazette’s “Fair deal for Forres and Kinloss” campaign.
Local campaigner and Moray Greens convenor Fabio Villani said: “the Gazette has a proud tradition of standing up for the Forres area, and should be congratulated once again for focusing on what really matters to the local community. The Moray Greens are fully behind the Gazette’s “Fair Deal” campaign. The Forres area has been dealt a potentially devastating blow with the announcement of the closure of RAF Kinloss; the UK government and the Ministry of Defence have an obligation to repay the loyalty shown by the local community over the last 70 years by supporting the regeneration of the local economy.”
Scottish Green Party Co-convenor Eleanor Scott added: “We would have expected the UK government to announce its economic support package for the Forres area at the time of, or immediately after, its shock announcement in late October of its intention to close RAF Kinloss. It is outrageous that, nearly three months down the line, we have not been told what the plans for the future are, and have heard nothing about the support that the government owes Moray to regenerate the local economy and develop alternative employment opportunities.”
“We have been involved in a number of meetings aiming to help coordinate a united response to the unique challenge facing us,” Fabio went on to say. “We were pleased to see that there is a high degree of consensus about the way forward. There is general agreement that RAF servicemen and women, and their families, are valued members of the local community, and that we should do all we can to encourage them to stay. The training funds put forward by the Scottish Government to allow people to develop and diversify their skills will certainly help, but we need substantial funding from the UK government to turn the Forres area into an enterprise zone and create high-quality, sustainable jobs for all those who choose to stay in the area.
“The Moray Greens have also been involved in talks about developing a community self-help approach, with the community itself taking a leading role in planning and managing the sustainable economic development of the Forres area. Whether this will take the form of a whole town strategy, or a community growth plan, or setting up a Development Trust, we will play our part, and look forward to working with the Council, government agencies, local communities and businesses to promote sustainable development and vibrant communities, and to expand and revitalise our economy to compensate for the defence cuts.”