Plymouth councillors rally in support of city’s armed forces


 

Plymouth councillors have been showing their support for a campaign to protect Devonport based ships and Royal Marines from defence cuts.

Councillors of all parties are backing the Fly the flag for Devonport campaign which is now being promoted through a banner outside the Council House in Plymouth.

Following a cross-party motion by the full council last October the Council is running a campaign to protect the ships and Royal Marines alongside the Herald and her sister paper the Western Morning News.

There has been ongoing speculation that HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark and the Royal Marines could fall victim to potential defence cuts, leading to concerns to be voiced by senior military figures.

A cross-party Devonport Task Group that includes MPs, councillors, business community representatives and trade unions representatives is working to make the case for retaining the defence capability provided the armed forces in Plymouth.

The two amphibious assault ships are needed to provide the punch of the Royal Marines ashore by both air and the landing craft from their internal docks. They can also provide humanitarian aid where needed.

The ships are also valuable to the South West economy. A study commissioned by the Council showed that when the supply chain is taken into account the economic impact on the region from the amphibious assault ships is £61 million in GVA (Gross Value Added) and a total of 1,776 jobs.

Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “There is strong evidence that the capability provided the Devonport based amphibious assault ships and the Royal Marines should be enhanced rather than reduced in order to meet the UK’s future defence needs.

“We will be using the ‘Fly the Flag for Devonport’ campaign to make the case for ensuring the skills and capability provided by Devonport are recognised in the Modernising Defence Programme review announced by the Defence Secretary last week.

“This is far from over and the threat has not gone away. We will continue to work together as city to press the case for this capability and to provide the evidence to ensure the right decisions are made both for Devonport and for the UK as a whole.”