Thursday, 26 April 2007
Save the Navy Petition- The Prime Minister's Response
Details of petition:
"The MoD is planning to mothball almost half the Navy's 44 warships to cut costs. This money has been wasted, amongst other things, on a war in Iraq we can never win and that should never have been started. The government misled the public and the house to justify it and now we are paying a heavy price. The RN frigates are among the most potent weapons we have. When this is done who will be left to stop illegal immigrants from landing on our shores? Who will seek out and capture drug runners? Who will retake the Falklands when Argentina decides to invade again? As it is we already have 13 warships it would take 18 months to get into action. Act now and sign this petition, for these decisions have almost certainly already been taken. Support the Navy, once these ships are scrapped or sold we will never replace them. Britannia will no longer rule the waves."
The PM's Response
The Government has no plans to reduce the size of the Royal Navy, to withdraw warships from operational service earlier than scheduled, or to place warships in 'mothballs'.
Far from making cuts, the Government is investing heavily in the construction of new warships for the Royal Navy. We are introducing the new and highly capable Type 45 Destroyers, the first two of which have already been launched. We are building the advanced and powerful Astute class nuclear attack submarines, of which three are now on order. Above all, we are buying two new aircraft carriers which will be the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy and which will provide the UK with the most powerful carrier force outside the USA. The Navy has also recently taken delivery of new amphibious assault and support ships which are vastly more capable than the ships they replaced.
It is wrong to imply that the costs of operations in Iraq and elsewhere are being met at the expense of the Navy. The additional costs of these operations do not fall to the defence budget, but are met from the Treasury reserve.
Only one Royal Navy ship, HMS Invincible, is being held in a state of readiness from which it would require up to eighteen months to return to operational service. She is being held in this state of readiness prior to her final withdrawal from service, as scheduled, in 2010, by which time she will be over 30 years old. The Navy has no plans to place any other ships in such a state of readiness.
If this turns out to be true it's good news for the Navy.