Local MPs press for more clarity on future of Longtown
Rory Stewart MP, John Stevenson MP and David Mundell MP have cautiously welcomed an update from Defence Minister Phillip Dunne over the future of the Ministry of Defence munitions site at Longtown, whilst continuing to call for greater clarity on the Government’s long-term commitment to the depot. The latest announcement shows that the Government has acknowledged the concerns raised by all three MPs, as well as local council and Trade Union representatives, and suggests a move away from Labour’s 2008 proposal to close the facility. No decision will be taken until the outcome of the 2015/2016 spending review is known in June, but it is hoped that a more flexible, intermediate solution may offer breathing space for the depot, presenting an opportunity to again reevaluate how to secure the site’s long-term future.
David Mundell said:
“This latest letter from Philip Dunne shows that all the options to retain the site are still on the table ahead of the final decision being made. There remains a strong case for retaining MoD Longtown, despite the planned spending cuts and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that case is heard. The commitment and quality of existing workers cannot be questioned and it is important that local MPs, councils and trade unions continue to work together to make the positive case for Longtown at this time”
“I am pleased to see the Minister thinking flexibly on this issue, in an effort to retain a site that is not only vitally important to our local economy – employing close to 300 residents in the Longtown, Carlisle and Gretna area – but also to our defence systems nationally too. It is reassuring to see that all options remain open, and I feel this is a testament to the extraordinary lobbying efforts of local MPs, councillors and trade union representatives. There is still a real need for greater clarity on the site’s long-term future however, and I will ensure we continue to lobby government tirelessly to secure such an outcome.”
John Stevenson said:
“MOD Longtown is important to our local economy and I am pleased that the local MPs, trade unions, local councils and those employed at MOD Longtown are continuing to work together to highlight the local and national importance of this site. A final decision on the future of this site has not yet been made and we must continue to remind Government that MOD Longtown provides much needed employment in our area and provides a key service, supporting the British Armed Forces.”