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Last Updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Task force tackling job cutbacks
12 Squadron Tornado
RAF Lossiemouth, which hosts 12 Squadron Tornado, is affected
A newly created task force is aiming to cushion the effect of cuts facing RAF staff and other workers in Moray.

The Moray Task Force will spearhead efforts to alleviate the impact of cuts at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss.

The Ministry of Defence announced plans for cuts and reorganisation affecting 700 and 180 jobs at both bases respectively in March.

The new task force will also focus on job cuts elsewhere in Moray and those who lost jobs with Grampian Foods.

Based with Moray Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise (MBSE) at Horizon Scotland, Forres, the task force will address the issues arising from the situation.

The efforts of the new team will be focused on Moray as a whole
Douglas Yule
MBSE chief executive

This includes speaking with those affected by the announcement in April that 330 posts are to be shed with the closure of Grampian Country Foods in Buckie.

The team, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year, will work closely with the representatives of the public and private sector bodies which form Moray's local economic forum and the MoD.

MBSE chief executive Douglas Yule said: "The formation of the task force, along with our own reorganisation, underlines our determination to tackle the challenges facing the area and create lasting change.

"Although the task force was launched in the wake of the devastating announcement of the RAF job reductions, the efforts of the new team will be focused on Moray as a whole.

'Economic challenges'

"The importance of taking this approach to encourage genuine and sustainable diversification in the whole Moray economy was further underlined by serious job losses in Buckie after the announcement about the RAF bases.

"Prior to that, east Moray was already facing significant economic challenges - a fact which we responded to by opening a new office and establishing a team in Buckie."

The four-strong team has been set up by First Minister Jack McConnell.

The RAF's total strength is to be cut from 48,900 to 41,000 by 2008 as a result of the MoD's reorganisation drive.

About 330 workers are losing their jobs at the Grampian Country Foods factory in Buckie, as part of a 16m redevelopment drive which will see the creation of 200 posts at Broxburn, near Edinburgh.

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