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Home of the Red Arrows ‘to be sold to save money’

RAF Scampton was also the base for the Dambusters.

The Ministry of Defence is planning to sell off the home of the Red Arrows in a bid to save millions in running costs, according to media reports.

RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire is facing the axe to save the MoD £140 million over the next 10 years, The Sun reported.

Opened in 1916, the base is famous for being the headquarters of 617 Squadron as they prepared for the Dambusters mission.

It now employs 600 people and has been home to the Red Arrows display team for over 20 years.

The Red Arrows flying over Buckingham Palace (MoD/PA)

It is not clear where the Red Arrows will be located following the sale, a source told The Sun, which is due to be completed by 2022.

The source said: “We know the local community will not be happy but the numbers don’t lie.

“It’s a far better use of money to sell. One thing is certain, the Red Arrows’ future is safe.”

The Lincolnshire Echo reported on Tuesday that this year’s Scampton airshow was cancelled although organisers said that was because its inaugural event last year had made a loss.

Leader of the Dambusters Raid, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, with his crew as they board their Avro Lancaster III ED932/AJ-G for the Dams’ Raid of May 16/17 1943 (MoD/Crown copyright/PA)

The MoD is expected to make £1.7 billion in savings in the next 10 years, prompting concerns that the defence budget is under too much strain.

Last month, the Commons Defence Committee called on the Government to increase defence spending from 2% to 3% of GDP, a boost of around £20 billion a year.

RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire (Rui Vieira/PA)

The MoD declined to comment at this time.

Committee chairman Julian Lewis said the hike was necessary “to place our defence policy on a sustainable basis to meet new threats and fill existing financial ‘black holes’”.

Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, said he was “saddened” that the base, which is in his constituency, was to be sold.

He tweeted: “Saddened that the Ministry of Defence want to sell RAF Scampton as part of cost-saving measures. Not the best way to mark the #RAF100: closing the home of the RAF Red Arrows and Dambuster squadron.

“I will work with Lincolnshire County Council & West Lindsey District Council to ensure the base has a bright future.”

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