My office and I have regular discussions with the Ministry of Defence on all matters relating to defence in Scotland, including the latest plans to modernise and restructure the Army. I was pleased that the review included plans for the Army to expand its footprint in Scotland; it is going from six to seven units, and Scotland will have a greater proportion of the Army than today.
While I have the opportunity, I would also like to thank our fantastic British armed forces who are currently supporting the booster programme in Scotland. The Secretary of State for Defence announced yesterday that a further 100 military personnel will support the vital booster campaign, and today the MOD has announced that another 80 medics are going to three NHS boards in Scotland. That means that over 400 military personnel are supporting Scotland’s health services.
Does the Secretary of State agree that the “Future Soldier” paper shows just how important defence is to Scotland and Scotland is to the defence of the UK and our allies, and does he share my enthusiasm that it delivers £355 million-worth of investment in the Army estate in Scotland?
Absolutely. Scotland plays a vital role in the defence of the UK. The Army’s future soldier restructuring programme is great news for Scotland. Not only will it deliver £355 million of investment in the Army’s Scottish estate, as my hon. Friend pointed out, but Scotland will gain a major unit and, as I said, we will see a greater proportion of the British Army in Scotland.
Soldiers from Scotland have had a central role in the armed forces over many centuries, from the charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo, to the western front, to helping roll out our vaccine programme. Can my right hon. Friend assure me that that proud central role will continue as strongly as ever in Scotland following any restructuring?
Under the future soldier review, the Army’s footprint in Scotland will be stronger than ever, recognising the immense contribution that Scottish servicemen and women make to the British Army. I am pleased that Scottish troops will continue the tradition, and they will lead the new Ranger Regiment, deploying alongside partner forces to counter extremist organisations and hostile state threats.