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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 16:16 GMT
MoD denies regiment kilt shortage
Textile worker making tartan
Kilt makers Robert Noble had been the Army's supplier for 150 years
The Ministry of Defence has denied that there is a shortage of kilts in Scotland's new super regiment.

The Royal Regiment of Scotland's 5,000 soldiers currently have just 320 kilts between them.

The SNP's Angus Robertson said the MoD was mistreating the infantry while former senior officers have accused it of bad planning.

Borders firm Robert Noble made the Army's kilts at its Peebles factory for more than 150 years.

Ceremonial duties

It was claimed that Scots troops were having to share kilts because no kilt-maker has so far been awarded the new supply contract, which was put out to tender earlier this year.

An MoD spokeswoman said: "There are no problems whatsoever.

"We have plenty of kilts for ceremonial duties, and the Scottish battalions are happy with the situation.

"At the request of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, these kilts are being trialled to ensure soldiers get the most comfortable material for a variety of weather, with the best clarity of colour and pattern."

There are currently far more important issues and activities that Scottish soldiers, the Army and MoD are focused on
MoD spokeswoman

The 320 kilts have been made by Argyll Bagpipes and Kilts.

The MoD has yet to confirm who will get the 1m contract to produce more.

It said a planned deployment would be agreed with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, with two battalions having their kilts by next May and the whole unit being kitted out by early 2008.

The MoD spokeswoman added: "Whilst ceremonial duties and uniforms are an essential and integral part of the British Army, there are currently far more important issues and activities that Scottish soldiers, the Army and MoD are focused on, such as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, training, and looking after our servicemen and women."

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