CHANCELLOR George Osborne has today pledged the government will commit to building the most modern navy in the world.
The News understands Mr Osborne used his visit to Portsmouth today to announce a new national shipbuilding strategy in advance of a decision later this year on orders for the brand new Type 26 Global Combat Ship.
The chancellor will also end speculation about where the ships will be based by announcing these multi-million pound ships will be based in both Portsmouth and Plymouth.
While on the visit to one of the world’s oldest dry docks at Portsmouth Naval Base, the chancellor will also confirm the provision of £100m of infrastructure development in new dock facilities at the base – first announced in 2013 – to support the arrival of the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Mr Osborne said: ‘Ensuring a better and more secure future for Britain means equipping our Royal Navy for the challenges of the 21st century.
‘It is only because we have a long-term economic plan that we able to invest in our national security.
‘Our ambition is to deliver the most modern navy in the world which this government believes is a national necessity.
‘It will maintain and create jobs and deliver a more secure future for Britain.’
The new work will encompass berthing and jetty improvements, new power supply and distribution, and significant dredging in the approach to the harbour to enable the base to accommodate the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.
The move is expected to bring ‘significant’ employment opportunities in the Portsmouth area.
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said the chancellor’s pledge was a ‘powerful statement’.
‘I am delighted by the chancellor’s announcement today,’ he said.
‘The commitment to a new national shipbuilding strategy is not just a very significant investment in the UK’s shipbuilding future.
‘It is also a powerful statement that our nation’s global interests will be protected by a credible, world class navy – equipped with fast-jet aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers and frigates which will be the best and most modern in the world.’
The Chancellor today visited the ops room of HMS Defender as part of his visit.