GMB Warn That Tories Plan Further Cut Of One Third In UK Defence Budget Which Will Endanger National Security
These cuts will impact on the Army, the Navy and the RAF and in this context Portsmouth announcements by the Prime Minister amount to very little says GMB.
GMB, the union for workers in shipbuilding and the defence sector, commented on announcements by the Prime Minister on a visit to Portsmouth today 17th Feb 2015. See notes to editors for statement to local TV station.
Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary, said “The Tory fixation with cutting the deficit rather than securing growth in our economy, which is the right way to cut a deficit, means that the Tory spending on defence has dropped to dangerously low levels and is threatening our national security.
The reality is that the Tories want to cut defence spending again in the next Parliament. This will impact on the Army, the Navy and the RAF. In this context these announcements by the Prime Minister amount to very little.
What is noticeable is that there are no concrete plans to maintain shipbuilding on the South Coast. To pretend that a Naval base looking after a navy with less than 30 ships, as an alternative is frankly ludicrous even with big ships like the carriers.
Because of the defence cuts we have already seen devastation to shipbuilding in the Portsmouth area and as yet there are no plans to see the reverse of these defence cuts. Tories have already implemented massive cuts in defence spending and plan more of the same because defence is not one of the protected services.
If protection for the health, schools and overseas aid budgets continues along similar lines to today, the Tory cuts to non-protected departments including the Home Office, local government and defence in the next Parliament will be severe. The combined annual budget of non-protected departments would have to come down by a third in real terms.
The electorate in Hampshire and the country will not be easily fooled. We have seen enough cuts - we want to see growth per head in the economy instead.”
Contact: Gary Cook 07712 677594 or Paul Maloney 07901 343839 or 07921 289880
Notes to editors
Announcement from the Prime Minister regarding Portsmouth shipbuilding during visit on 17th February from local press:
# The Hampshire economy is set to benefit from millions of pounds of defence investment, the Prime Minister will announce.
# On a visit to the region, he will announce significant government investment in the UK’s defence capabilities including a major service support contract that will secure 450 jobs.
# The Ministry of Defence has signed a £420 million contract with Boeing for the in-service support of the Chinook helicopter, saving the taxpayer over £150million. The contract will be for five years and will sustain 450 jobs with the fleet being maintained in Fleetlands, Gosport, and other technical support provided at RAF Odiham and sites across the UK.
# Chinook is the UK’s only military heavy lift helicopter, able to transport up to 54 troops or 10 tonnes of supplies. The contract will support the RAF's fleet, which will be 60 strong by early 2017 and includes the new Mark 6 helicopters.
# The Prime Minister will also announce the preferred bidders to occupy the Portsmouth ship hall facilities.
# This will further add to the £100 million investment in HMNB Portsmouth that will ensure the city is ready to become the home of the brand new Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier in 2017.
# Following the Chancellor’s announcement on 30 January, the Prime Minister will announce that over £50million of the £100million investment has been awarded to construct the jetty and other port infrastructure, provide high-voltage power and navigational aids necessary to berth these gigantic vessels.