Concerns are growing over news that jobs could be lost at Ministry of Defence contractor (MoD) QinetiQ as part of a UK wide review.

The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre, run by the company, has its headquarters and offices at Kyle of Lochalsh and a facility on Rona which make use of  the waters of the Inner Sound between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland to carry out surface and underwater water range tests of weapons, equipment and vessels.

Although the review is still at an early stage QinetiQ have confirmed that as many as 3 percent of its national workforce of just over 6,000 could go. Whether any of those job losses would impact on the Kyle facility is not yet known.

Ironically the latest news follows on the heels of controversial proposals to expand the existing 25 sq km range by a further 25 sq km, which, it was claimed, would actually help protect the local economy.

However local fisherman claimed they could lead some to leave the industry as their catch of langoustine prawns from the remaining area would become too small to produce viable earnings and that up to six boats could be lost.

However the MoD said: "The MoD economic impact assessment concluded that the impact on local fishing vessels will be limited. In addition, the MoD and industry are working very closely with the local fishing community to identify further mitigation measures.

And added: “The proposed changes must be implemented to sustain jobs in the medium term and it is important to remember that the Raasay Ranges also bring considerable economic benefits to Scotland”.

Of the prospect of local jobs being lost a QinetiQ spokesperson said: "We have completed an outline design for QinetiQ that puts the right people with the right skills in the right place to deliver for our customers.

"It creates a number of new roles but will result in a net reduction of around 200 roles across QinetiQ - approximately 3% of our total workforce of 6,210 - achieved through a number of measures, including attrition and some redundancies.

"We are committed to doing everything we can to protect employment, supporting those affected to redeploy them into new roles where possible.

"Our priority is to discuss the changes with individual employees across our sites."

A consultation period will run for six weeks and the company said that until that process was completed it was not possible to give details of the numbers of redundancies at any specific site.