Row erupts over build fears for new frigates

CONCERNS have been raised that cheap imported steel could be used to build the Royal Navy's newest warships.

Union chiefs have called on the government to use British steel to construct the latest set of Type 26 frigates.

The fears were sparked after Tory defence minister Philip Dunne let slip steel for the fleet of Type 26 frigates could be supplied with multi-billion pound contracts – denying UK steel foundaries of vital cash.

Unite’s assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: ‘It would be a national scandal if British steel wasn’t used to build the navy’s new frigates.’

Revealing the Tories were looking ­elsewhere, Mr Dunne said: ‘Steel is sourced by our contractors from a range of UK and ­international suppliers, reflecting the need to ensure a competitive price and delivery at the required time and quality. No suppliers have been selected or any orders placed for the Type 26 Global Combat Ships.’

The new frigates will be able to carry 185 sailors and sail for up to 7,800 miles without refuelling.

The first is due to enter service in the early 2020s.