Navy ‘can only send a quarter of ships to sea’ after cuts
‘Makes Britain a laughing stock’
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.