Government needs to commit to warship increases, says former First Sea Lord

Admiral Lord Alan West

Admiral Lord Alan West

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WHITEHALL needs to commit to a ‘steady drum beat’ of new warships, a former head of the Royal Navy has warned.

Admiral Lord Alan West has welcomed today’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

But he said the government now needed to back the recommendations – and boost the numbers of frigates.

He said: ‘The government has got to commit to a drum beat of orders.

‘It’s got to be more than just the five on top of the eight (Type 26 frigates).’

Councillor Donna Jones, Portsmouth City Council boss said: ‘Portsmouth is excellently positioned to building military ships and commercial vessels’ as we have one of the best and most sophisticated shipbuilding facilities in the country which is still vacant.’

John Ferrett, negotiations officer for The Prospect Union, said Portsmouth had the facilities to achieve this ambition but questioned whether the city still had the skilled workforce needed to build such complex warships.

‘We would like to see a return to shipbuilding in Portsmouth,’ he added.

‘But we also recognise, many of the skills and workers have moved on.’

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