Alex questions Defence Cuts

Local MP Alex Cunningham has written to the Secretary of State for Defence following reports that contracts for two aircraft carries, worth £5 billion, could be scrapped. Ministry of Defence figures show that more than 100 construction contracts have already been awarded for the carriers, to 68 companies across 60 UK constituencies, totaling £1.25bn. In Stockton North, local company Hertel is already engaged in building accommodation units for these aircraft carriers. Responding to the reports, Alex said:

“I know the Ministry of Defence, like almost all other Departments, is under pressure to cut its budget by 20% or more. I understand the strategic defence review is due to be completed by the end of October and so I have asked the Secretary of State protect these contracts in order to safeguard thousands of skilled jobs, across the UK as well as in my constituency.”

“The cancellation of even one of the aircraft carriers will have a devastating knock on effect on industries across the UK and can only lead to considerable numbers of highly skilled workers in everything from communications and weapon systems to construction facing unemployment.”

“Cancelling these aircraft carriers would be madness. Millions of pounds of public money would be wasted, thousands of potential jobs would be lost and our defence capability would be severely damaged. In an uncertain world, this is not a risk I think the Government should be willing to take.”