Government dodges answering on what impact Royal Navy’s new Type 31e frigates could have on Britain’s economy

DEMANDS have been made for defence ministers to reveal what sort of boom a new breed Royal Navy warships could have on the economy.

Saturday, 23rd March 2019, 4:49 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th March 2019, 7:35 pm

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, has quizzed ministers over the potential impact of the Type 31e frigates on the nation’s coffers.

The Labour politician also pressed the Ministry of Defence on where the ships will be based.

Portsmouth has been tipped by maritime experts as the prime position to base the £1.25bn fleet of vessels, after it was revealed that the eight more advanced Type 26 frigates would head to Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth.

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However, the MoD has remained tight-lipped over where the fleet of five ‘budget’ Type 31s will head to.

As well as asking how much cash the vessels could bring into the area, Mr Morgan also questioned when the timetable to announce where the warships would call home would be revealed before asking if the Tory chief would ‘make it his policy’ to base the frigates in Portsmouth

Defence procurement minister Stuart Andrew, who responded to the questions, dodged giving an answer about the economic impact the frigates could have.

But the Tory MP did say: ‘The base-porting of the Type 31e frigates has not been decided and a decision will be made in due course.’

He added: ‘The future Royal Navy will have the ability to deploy flexibly, both independently and in co-operation with our allies, and have the ships, submarines and aircraft to ensure a global presence in support of the UK's diverse diplomatic, security and economic interests around the globe.

‘The Royal Navy is considering the different manning and operating models to deliver this.’

A number of defence firms are currently drawing up proposals for the new frigate class.

The government will reveal which bid has been successful before the end of the year.

It’s hoped the new ships would help to free up Type 45 destroyers and Type 26 frigates from routine patrols to allow them to guard the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

The first ships are due to begin service in the navy in the early 2020s.