Navy ‘can only send a quar­ter of ships to sea’ af­ter cuts

Daily Mail - - News - By Claire El­li­cott Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Royal Navy can only send a quar­ter of its war­ships to sea due to cuts to the Armed Forces bud­get, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

Of the navy’s 19 Type 23 frigates and Type 45 de­stroy­ers, 13 have to stay docked be­cause of a lack of re­sources, sources said.

The navy had its man­power re­duced by 4,000 as part of the Gov­ern­ment’s 2010 de­fence review – and there are fears there could be fur­ther cuts in Novem­ber’s bud­get.

It comes af­ter re­ports that its flag­ship, HMS Ocean, had been de­layed from sail­ing to the Caribbean to aid Irma re­lief ef­forts due to en­gine prob­lems.

For­mer First Sea Lord, Lord West of Sp­it­head, told The Daily Tele­graph: ‘What is hap­pen­ing ... is a hol­low­ing-out of de­fence.’

A source also said: ‘The Armed Forces have now been re­duced to a level where they strug­gle to pro­tect Bri­tish cit­i­zens.

‘Our lack­lus­tre re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Irma makes Bri­tain a laugh­ing stock and is the di­rect re­sult of the Gov­ern­ment’s cuts to the de­fence bud­get.’

The Min­istry of De­fence said it did not com­ment on its fleet but said the navy could carry out all its op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments, and de­nied re­ports that HMS Ocean had been de­layed.

THE navy’s new air­craft car­rier could be stopped from leav­ing port af­ter tug­boat crews threat­ened to strike.

Serco Marine Ser­vices, which em­ploys tug boat staff for HMS Queen El­iz­a­beth, de­scribed a re­cent pay of­fer as ‘de­risory’. Unite, the union, warned that if mem­bers voted for ac­tion it would ‘cre­ate waves’ across the in­dus­try.

‘Makes Bri­tain a laugh­ing stock’

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