Royal Navy to halve number of office staff in Portsmouth in bid to boost front line and save costs

THE head of the Royal Navy has confirmed plans to drastically reduce the number of staff working in Portsmouth – and move them to other bases and ships in the Royal Navy.

By Millie Salkeld
Friday, 31st January 2020, 9:27 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 5:14 pm

First Sea Lord Admiral Anthony Radakin has told The Telegraph that 1,000 staff in Portsmouth will be moved to ships and other bases.

As part of cost savings, it is understood that around five of the 13 admirals based at Whale Island will lose their jobs and be replaced by more junior officers.

Adm Radakin told Defence IQ's Surface Warships conference: ‘We are going to challenge ourselves and see whether we can decrease our headquarters by around 1,000 people.

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Admiral Tony Radakin, centre, pictured during the commissioning of HMS Prince of Wales. Photo: Royal Navy

‘That's as much as 50 per cent, which will give us more people and more money to reinvest at sea. We are redesigning our headquarters so that we have a flatter structure and we empower high-quality people to take decisions and quite simply to get on with stuff.’

A government review into defence spending is set to commence next month.

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Adm Radakin previously told The News that in order to bring more sailors into front-line roles, said he would change how ships are crewed. Currently, naval drafts to a ship can last a couple of years.

Britain’s top sailors says he aims to create a new model of crewing ships, similar to those currently of minehunters of Gulf-based frigate HMS Montrose, which share crews on a rotational basis.

The 54-year-old said: ‘We’re going to try and double-crew another Type 23 [frigate] or Type 45 [destroyer]. Naval bases will come under the fleet commander as will operational sea training.

‘The aim is to strengthen the operational link of both maintenance and training. We need to get better in both areas.’

Last week The News reported that former chief of defence staff, Admiral Lord Michael Boyce, and Britain’s ex-top sailor, Admiral Lord Alan West, had launched an attack on Whitehall’s treatment of the Senior Service during a House of Lords debate – saying that cuts over the years had left the navy’s fleet looking ‘anorexic’.

Baroness Goldie, for the government, rejected their claims and said: ‘The intent remains to grow the destroyer and frigate force by the 2030s.’