Seven Army barracks hit as soldiers move into 'clusters' - but Scotland complains of broken promises

 

A major military restructuring programme announced today will mean that four barracks across the country are closed and three others shrunk - leading to accusations that Scotland in particular will suffer in the process.

The move takes place to provide accommodation for up to 15,500 troops and their famillies being relocated from Germany. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond insisted that despite a capital outlay of almost £1.8billion pounds the strategy will, in time, lead to savings of £240millon a year.

The troops returning from what was the British Army on the Rhine will be placed in clusters around Salisbury Plain, Edinburgh and Leuchars, Catterick, Aldershot, Colchester, Stafford and the East Midlands.

Under the drawdown plan from Germany around 11,000 will return home by 2016 and the remaining 4,500 troops will be back by 2019, a year earlier than planned.

Up to £1billion of funding will be go towards 1,900 new houses for service families and accommodation for 7,800 single soldiers with another £800 million will be spent on infrastructure and refurbishment of bases. Mr Hammond stated that this significant cash injection will boost the economy, rejuvenating areas in need of investment.

The Defence Secretary acknowledged that far fewer of the forces coming back will be based in Scotland than had been expected. But he maintained that north of the border would still have "a little bit more than its fair share" of military personnel based on the size of its population.

Labour defence spokesman Jim Murphy accused Mr Hammond of reneging on a promise to base more troops in Scotland. He said: "There will be real disappointment at the closures across the UK where historic bonds are now being broken. The armed forces remain crucial to Scotland's future the Government has reneged on its promise.

“While there is positive news of the return of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Royal Marines staying in Arbroath, a previous pledge of thousands more troops to Scotland has become a plan for just hundreds. It is a real blow to Scotland and will not be forgotten."

The bases being sold off are Claro Barracks, Ripon, North Yorkshire;  Howe Barracks, Canterbury;Craigiehall Barracks in Edinburgh; Cawdor Barracks in Brawdy, Pembrokeshire and parts of Redford Barracks, Edinburgh; Forthside Barracks, Stirling; and Copthorne Barracks, Shrewsbury.

Mr Hammond stressed the base closers have been largely necessitated by the cut in the size of the Army. He said:“Of course, we are very sensitive to the fact that many of our military units have very close connections with the communities they have often been embedded with for long periods of time. There will be significant regret at the loss of those connections. There will be some loss of civilian jobs. That is inevitable when you reduce the size of the Army.”

General Sir Peter Wall, the head of the Army, said the move had been long overdue. “The plan provides an excellent springboard for operations and it affords welcome certainty over where people will live,” he said.

More than 30,000 British army family members in Germany

Tony Paterson in Berlin

There are 16,000 British army troops still based in Germany. Under the government’s current plan, 70 percent of them will have returned to the United Kingdom by 2015 with the remaining 4,300 going back by the end of 2019 – one year earlier than originally planned.

British forces are stationed in the west German States of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony in the towns of Herford where the headquarters of the Ist Armoured dvision is based. There are Brtish garrisons in the towns of Gütersloh, Hohne, Paderborn and at the Rhinedahlen military complex near the city of Mönchengladbach.

There are over 30,000 British army family members in Germany. Their presence is estimated to contribute some 1.5 billion Euros to the German economy each year. The mayors of Germany’s British garrison towns, where the army established bases in 1945, say they deeply regret the troop withdrawal. 

Worst hit by the draw down are expected to be the towns of  Paderborn, where some 10,000 British troops and their dependants are based and Herford which is home to 2,200 soldiers and their families. 

Also severely affected will be the Rhinedahlen military complex, a miniature army town, which was built to accommodate 7,000 troops. It is scheduled to close by the end of 2017.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?