Luke Pollard MP has welcomed the Defence Committee’s report on Amphibious Capabilities, which underlines the importance of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ amphibious capabilities based in Plymouth, and calls for the MoD to listen to the growing body of evidence and unilaterally rule out these defence spending cuts.
Luke Pollard MP was the first Plymouth MP to raise concerns about the latest Government defence cuts. He has persistently raised this issue in Parliament, stating these cuts would be harm Plymouth's local economy and leave the UK less safe. Luke started a petition against these cuts which has been supported by more than 25,000 people across the UK. Research by Plymouth City Council has estimated cutting the amphibious warships would cause the loss of nearly 1,000 service jobs, with a net loss of 1,320 full-time equivalent jobs in Plymouth, even before cuts to the Royal Marines are accounted for.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“The Commons Defence report confirms what I have been arguing since the cuts were first leaked: scrapping HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark and cutting the Royal Marines would make the UK less safe and damage our national security.“The defence review needs to look carefully at this report and rule out cuts to the Royal Navy’s amphibious warships and the Royal Marines. Plymouth will not accept any further Government defence cuts and neither will I. Ministers have already scrapped a third of the Royal Navy’s amphibious ships with the upcoming sale of HMS Ocean to Brazil.“At a time when our competitors and allies are investing in amphibious ships it seems perverse that Ministers are considering scrapping these vital capabilities. With Russia on the rise, China expanding its ambitions across the Pacific, threats to UK interests abroad and mounting humanitarian disasters worldwide now is not the time to cut the Royal Navy.“If the Government brings forward cuts to the Royal Navy they would represent the biggest betrayal of Devonport by any Government in a generation. As the son of a Royal Navy submariner, I pledged to fight these cuts tooth and nail, which would be damaging for Plymouth’s economy and the UK’s national security. The longer that the uncertainty of these cuts goes on, the harder morale will be hit.”