AN MP has launched a campaign to ‘Save York Barracks,’ saying1,400 skilled jobs and 2,000 years of military history are at stake.
York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell says the proposed closures of barracks at Strensall in 2021 and Imphal Barracks in 2031 are not a done deal, as she thinks some may have assumed.
She said yesterday that the Government was obliged to undertake economic and social impact assessments before pressing ahead with any closure.
“There is therefore time for York residents to make their voices heard loud and clear,” she said.
“York has 2,000 years of proud history as a base for armed forces. We will lose 1,400 skilled jobs from our city and there will be 866 armed forces families affected. I will speak out and protect York’s economy and community.”
She spoke of the vital role the army played in the 2015 floods and the way York’s excellent schools enabled servicemen and women’s children to catch up on their education, while spouses and partners had access to jobs and further education.
“The army truly value being here in York and York truly values the army being here.”
She urged people to sign the petition online at www.saveyorkbarracks.com, or sign a paper petition that would be taken out in the city over coming weeks.
She said she had already spoken in debates and asked Parliamentary questions opposing the closures and would take this petition to Parliament to continue the fight.
Simon Elliott, regional secretary for the PCS union, which represents MOD civilian staff, said:“There will be a huge economic impact on the area if Strensall and Imphal Barracks are closed.
“Millions have been spent by the MOD investing in the area, and vital staff who support our armed services face an uncertain future.”
The MOD said it was committed to creating a defence estate that effectively supported modern military capability and was working to reduce its size by 30 per cent by 2040.
“As part of this we are releasing sites which are surplus to defence requirements, including Imphal Barracks,” said a spokeswoman.
“The Defence Infrastructure Organisation will work closely with the local authority and other parties to consider the best possible future use for the site to maximise local economic development.