Is raising a wreck the best use of public cash?

The Libor rate-fixing scandal was one of the biggest financial scams in history.

Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 5:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 6:35 pm

It saw shady bankers manipulating interest rates on everything from mortgages to business loans to make huge profits.

The banking houses behind the fraud have rightly been slapped with huge fines – running into billions of pounds, globally – and the chancellor’s announcement that some of this cash will be used to benefit the public is to be applauded.

But we wonder whether diverting more than £2m of the total £14m pot to excavating the wreck of 250-year-old HMS Invincible from the Solent is really the best use of this money.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Post the pro-Brexit vote we do not know what the future holds, apart from the fact it is uncertain for all of us.

And we know, at a local level, that charities such as Dial-a-Ride and Home Start, and children’s centres and domestic abuse charities, are struggling to keep their heads above water.

If any of these organisations were to go under it would have a very real impact on many hundreds, if not thousands, of people locally.

Of course, it’s vital that we preserve our naval heritage, Portsmouth is the very proud home of the Royal Navy.

The Invincible wreck site has been on the Heritage at Risk register for the past three years.

And excavating Invincible will involve young people, veterans and disabled people.

But one wonders if they would not be better served if that cash went to frontline charities that could support those most in need.

A further £2m will go to charities which support veterans and serving members of the armed forces.

Perhaps that figure should be doubled and cash for heritage projects found elsewhere?