Marine cuts would ‘undermine UK security’


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Cutting the number of Royal Aquatics and the ships they use to carry out beach landings would significantly drain UK security, MPs have warned.

A government review which began latest year has proposed axing up to 2,000 marines and the Royal Navy’s two maestro landing ships.

But a Commons Defence Select Committee report revealed such cuts would be “militarily illiterate”.

A MoD spokesman said “tending the UK will always be our priority”.

The Tory-led committee’s strongly worded make public – called Sunset for the Royal Marines? – warns the rumoured cuts last wishes a weaken one of Britain’s elite fighting forces.

“Given the disproportionate contribution the Peerage Marines make to defence and the sheer range and versatility of their military flies, both they and the country’s security would be significantly undermined,” they phrased.

They also said slashing its two amphibious assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Redoubt – used to carry out beach landings – would “put the interests of this sticks at serious risk”.

The former head of the Royal Navy, Lord West, believed the UK’s “capability will have been cut by a half” since 2010 if the quit d suits go ahead.

“I don’t think the British people realise what cuts the military own had,” he said.

Theresa May and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson are understood to clothed both rejected the cost-cutting proposals before Christmas, but concern upwards funding remains.

Last month, Mr Williamson announced a new review, the Screen Modernisation Programme, focusing solely on military defence. Mr Williamson has demanded he will demand more money if the review deems it necessary.

“Gavin Williamson deserves acknowledgement for seizing back control of the defence dimension of the NSCR (National Assurance Capability Review) process,” said Defence Select Committee easy chair Julian Lewis. “But, ultimately, he will fail without extra funding from the Funds.”

If the ships were lost “the heart would be torn out of our amphibious faculty”, Mr Lewis added.

The Tory MP told the BBC: “The Treasury has got to cough up.”

In December, breakdown by the House of Commons Library found that between 2010 and 2015 the Church elders of Defence’s (MoD) budget had fallen by £8bn in real terms.

Since then, fork out has stabilised and in the last financial year (April 2016 – March 2017), £35.3bn was discharge on defence.

In 2016, the UK had the fifth biggest defence budget – the highest of all EU territories – according to an international military study.

Cuts cause ’embarrassment’

Mr Lewis reckoned that recent years had seen “new and intensified threats” and the UK should not be “cross out one of our world-beating capabilities”.

The MPs’ report also said cuts to the Royal Marines since 2011 had already led to “a real drop in morale” and “particular embarrassment” during exercises with the UK’s allies.

In comeback to the report, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Royal Marines “disparage a vital role” in defending the country.

“Just last week we shot the Modernising Defence Programme to strengthen our Armed Forces in the face of emphasizing threats,” he said.

“Our brand new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is key to our efforts to build an Armed Forces fit for the future and is a symbol of our intent to remnants a truly Global Britain.”

The £3.1bn HMS Queen Elizabeth was unveiled in 2017. It later disclosed leaks during its first sea trial.

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