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David Cameron has rejected claims that a Royal Navy shipbuilding programme has been delayed because the Ministry of Defence has “run out of money”.

At a Defence Select Committee meeting on the procurement of new ships for the Royal Navy, concerns were raised about the apparent lack of £750 million available to fund the construction of the first batch of Type 26 frigates.

Peter Roberts, Senior Research Fellow for Sea Power and Maritime Studies at RUSI has said that slippage in the Type 26 programme may lead to extra ships being built on the Clyde in order to retain jobs at the yards on the river.

“What it’s going to mean for the Clyde is very significant and I think we couldn’t get a national shipbuilding strategy at a more important time and it might well be that we see further OPV’s being turned out on the Clyde”

He also suggested that the Type 31 light frigate could enter build before the Type 26.

Referring to the commitment of the government to the Clyde, he said:

“There is going to be a commitment, we see that from the government, of continued shipbuilding orders.”

The issue was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions by the SNP’s Steven Paterson:

“Yesterday at the defence committee the former first sea lord Admiral Lord West commented that the Ministry of Defence had effectively run out of money for shipbuilding.

Given reports that another Russian submarine has had to be escorted out of the UK waters overnight does the Prime Minister share my concerns that the delays to work beginning at the Clyde ship yards on the new frigates is causing real problems and agree it’s essential that the money is allocated to deliver this programme in full and on schedule?”

Mr Cameron replied:

“It is certainly not the case that this country in any way has run out of money or run out of ambition when it comes to shipbuilding. We are currently building the two largest ships the Royal Navy has ever had and we are going to shortly be commissioning the Type 26 programme as well as the off-shore patrol vessels.

The point I would make to you is there is only one way we could threaten shipbuilding on the Clyde and that would be to pull out of the United Kingdom and see the jobs be decimated as a result.”

31 COMMENTS

  1. maybe if they stopped giving money away in so called foreign aid along with the money given to France to sort the Calais jungle problem out then there would not be an issue….but seeing as all prime ministers only care about the world stage and other countries we will always come second best…

  2. So basically the response to this big risk is that “shortly” the Type 26 program will begin… What is “shortly”? This year (hopefully)?, next year?, early 2018? As great vessels as they are, changing topic to the QE class carriers or the new River class patrol vessels is not any good when needing to know if we have the money to start the new frigate program.

    • Shame the politicians can always get away with sleight of hand. They never get held to answering the point of the question.

  3. I still think it would be better to start a type 31 programme first, the 26 looks like it could turn into another 45 drama in that the ship is so complicated it ends up with huge cost overuns and an even smaller number. What the navy needs to good quality ships and soon not floating computers that have so many problems there just not worth it, there is already many hull designs around that the 31 could be based on along with proven weapons to fit it out with.

    • the type 31 can be built in Portsmouth, whilst the Clyde builds the type 26, it makes no sense to give all of the ship building to the Clyde.

  4. In all fairness dodgy Dave isn’t the first person I’d ask for the truth. Don’t think his word means to much any more.

  5. Hull numbers, along with aircraft numbers in a different conversation, seem to me to be the failure of current defence thinking. I appreciate that highly skilled tech jobs are maintained in certain elements of current programmes, but we do not need sledgehammers to crack walnuts all the time. The carrier group will need its escorts & auxiliaries, but for lower level interventions, usually against RIBs or similar craft, we need a number of simpler corvette sized & type craft. They would also maintain the building skills & facilities. Type 31 will eventually become a financial noose to any government. Small is beautiful & useful too.

  6. If you re-read the press release he doesn’t state that the MOD can’t afford the ships, he says that the UK can afford to build them, which is of course true but it doesn’t mean that the money is going to the MoD, since less than 2% heads that way.

    As such, as he didn’t answered a different question to the one directed at him, i suspect there is some truth behind the story.

  7. Won’t the cost of warships drive down hull numbers?

    To maintain an ability to deploy anything, won’t we eventually have to accept a cheap and cheerful element in the fleet?

  8. Personally I suspect that the Type 26 frigate budget has been “raided” by the MOD to
    sort out the faults with the Type 45 destroyer engine failures.(Maybe also to help pay for the earlier ordering of more F35 B fighters).
    I cannot see HM Treasury “stumping” the extra money required therefore the Type 26 build schedule has been moved to the right again.

  9. CAMERON would sell his own mother if he thought it would save his own neck. He the worst PM can’t be trusted and spin so fast he like a whirling dervish. He and Osborne should be kicked out for sure and as for his promise to the navy about building more ships what a jokey but we could with all the money we would save coming out the EU

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