- Campaign to build a hospital and aid ship launched by SaveTheNavy is gaining traction
- New ships will allow the UK to deliver aid around the world
- City MP Luke Pollard says ship can be funded from foreign aid budget
Luke Pollard MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport has backed the campaign to build a new British hospital ship and aid ship. Campaigners are proposing two new types of British ships to be built and deployed around the world. Traditional hospital ships are floating hospitals that visit nations in need and offer free medical and dental care, usually docked in a large port for many weeks. Aid ships have medical facilities but are primarily amphibious logistics vessels, capable of independently delivering supplies to support relief work.
As 95 of the world’s largest cities are port cities and 90% of the world’s population lives within 200 miles of the sea, campaigners believe this ship is an efficient way to deploy large scale relief.
The UK has a proud history of providing aid and healthcare to people and is legally committed to spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid since 2015. That’s why Luke Pollard and campaigners are calling for a small portion of this to be redirected for building these kinds of ships to avoid putting any extra strain on the Defence budget nor add any extra cost to the taxpayer.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“As the son of a submariner and the proud MP for Devonport the largest naval base in Western Europe, I’m proud to back this campaign to build new British hospital ships and aid ships. Hospital and aid ships are a fantastic way to deliver foreign aid. As one of the richest countries in the world, Britain should rightly play a leading role in delivering aid and assistance to people in need around the world.
“I think it is right Ministers look at how we can use the foreign aid budget to fund these new ships. This campaign is also a great chance to back British shipyards and our world-class shipbuilding industry. Let’s make this happen”
Luke has tabled three written parliamentary questions to the Secretary of State for Defence on this topic:
- Whether the Secretary of State for Defence has plans to fund or part-fund a UK hospital ship.
- Whether a UK hospital ship would be classed as a complex warship and eligible for a restricted tender for UK shipyards for its construction.
- What discussions the Secretary of State for Defence’s Department has had with the US Department of Defense on (a) US hospital ships and (b) lessons for (i) procurement and (ii) specification of a UK hospital ship.
Luke Pollard MP has been campaigning against cuts to the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy’s amphibious capabilities since he was elected.
Find out more by visiting the SaveTheNavy website that launched this campaign in 2014 at https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/the-plan-for-a-british-hospital-ship-gains-political-support/