£100m boost outlined for navy base
Chancellor George Osborne has outlined his strategy to make the Royal Navy the "most modern in the world" with his aim of building a new warship every two years.
During a visit to Portsmouth Naval Base, Mr Osborne announced that the new Type 26 global combat ships, expected to be ordered later this year, would be based in both the Hampshire port and at Plymouth, Devon.
He also outlined how £100 million would be spent on the infrastructure at Portsmouth to provide new docking facilities for the two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers currently being built.
Mr Osborne said that as well as providing the navy with cutting edge warships, the strategy would create and maintain jobs within the shipbuilding industry.
He said: "Ensuring a better and more secure future for Britain means equipping our Royal Navy for the challenges of the 21st century.
"It is only because we have a long term economic plan that we able to invest in our national security. Our ambition is to deliver the most modern navy in the world which this Government believes is a national necessity.
"It will maintain and create jobs and deliver a more secure future for Britain."
The chancellor was given a boat tour of the port by the base commander Commodore Jeremy Rigby. He was then shown the operations room aboard the Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender - one of the navy's most advanced warships - by the commanding officer Commander Steve Higham.
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: "The commitment to a new national shipbuilding strategy is not just a very significant investment in the UK's shipbuilding future.
"It is also a powerful statement that our nation's global interests will be protected by a credible, world class navy - equipped with fast-jet aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers and frigates which will be the best and most modern in the world."
Cdr Higham, said: "It was an honour to host the Chancellor of the Exchequer today and update him on HMS Defender's recent deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of coalition air strikes against IS in Iraq.
"His visit presented an ideal opportunity to demonstrate Defender's world-class military capabilities and the exceptional contribution made by the ship's company on recent operations."
The chancellor also announced £3 million for causes which support the families of the Royal Navy alongside projects which showcase naval history.
The money would come from the fines levied on banks for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) financial benchmark.
The projects set to benefit from the funding announced today include £1 million for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity to support personnel and their families in Portsmouth through projects including refurbishing the Warrant Officers' Mess in HMS Sultan and renovating Navy Mews to provide flats so families can spend time with their loved ones.
A total of £1 million is to go to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity to enable support for a number of projects including help for the Naval Families Federation. And £1 million will support the Royal Navy Museum and the Royal Navy Heritage Flying Trust (RNHF) to deliver historical projects and attract tourism to Portsmouth.
The funding will go towards restoring the LCT 7074 (Second World War landing craft) and to fund essential long-term repairs to the Swordfish historic flight - the first carrier-borne aircraft for the Royal Navy.
Mr Osborne said: "It is fitting that the money paid in fines by people who demonstrated the poorest values in our society is used to support those who demonstrate the very best."
The chancellor pledged in December that all proceeds from Libor fines would be spent on military and blue light causes.