A leading county councillor has expressed his hopes that a multi-billion pound investment in the nation’s defences will bring benefits to the Lincolnshire economy.
Prime Minster David Cameron yesterday (Monday) announced a £178 billion investment in defence equipment and support over the next decade as part of the Government’s five-year National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security review.
And it is predicted that Lincolnshire, with drones being operated from RAF Waddington and Typhoon squadrons based at RAF Coningsby, could be one of the areas to benefit the most.
Coun Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “As the home of the RAF, this announcement can only be good news for Lincolnshire.
“The Prime Minister has talked about extra spending on Typhoons and drones, both of which are predominantly based in the county, so I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll benefit.
“It could mean hundreds of new highly-skilled defence staff and their families moving into the county, spending money with local businesses and boosting our economy.
“So we await the details on this new investment with interest.”
Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham Stephen Phillips also quizzed Mark Lancaster, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, in the Commons yesterday during Defence Questions, on the future of RAF stations in Lincolnshire.
Mr Phillips asked what plans he had for consolidation of RAF stations, adding: “Lincolnshire is the home of the RAF, and while I appreciate that he cannot give definitive answers today, he will no doubt agree that that should remain the case and that there are very good reasons for consolidating more personnel and assets in our great county.”
Mr Lancaster said: “Any consolidation of Royal Air Force stations is being considered as part of the Ministry of Defence footprint strategy. The attacks in Paris remind us that the threats we face are growing in scale, diversity and complexity. We are therefore determined to configure our defence estate to optimise our support of military capability.
“I hope to be able to provide further information in due course.”
Commenting afterwards, Mr Phillips said: “We in Lincolnshire are very proud of our historic and current connection with the RAF, and of those brave and dedicated personnel who make their homes in our county. I understand that the minister could not give specific details in his answer, but I hope that I have reminded him of Lincolnshire’s importance and I look forward to further information in the near future.”