Royal yacht provides ‘a soft-power prestige’ says Dominic Raab
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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab insisted a new royal yacht would provide the UK with a “soft power prestige” that would help strengthen ties with international partners. Mr Raab defended the proposed £250 million cost estimate for the yacht, insisting the ship will help expand Brexit Britain’s “influence” abroad. He told LBC: “With all of these things, you have to look at both the soft power prestige that it provides – and I think we should fly the flag in this country.
“You and I, we talked about it before, we need to be self-confident. Global Britain is all about that.
“We ought to be flying the flag whether it’s the diplomatic representation we have or when we’re doing this life-saving work with vaccines.
“We should be proud of what we’re doing. Also, we look, of course, at the cost basis, the value-added.
“We combine both of those things, the strategic value-added and the cost of these things. That’s the conversation we have in Government.”
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The vessel is due to be paid for out of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) budget, even though No 10 has confirmed the ship will be for trade rather than defence purposes.
In a national flagship engagement day speech on Wednesday in Greenwich, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “There has been a lot of reporting around this ship.
“Not all of it accurate. So let me set out our basic aims.
“Subject to working through bids, competition and technology, I aim to commission the ship for between £200 and £250 million on a firm price.
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“The competition will run until the end of October. I hope to announce the winners in December.
“To begin construction in a British shipyard as early as next year and have a ship in the water by 2024 or 2025.
“That’s an ambitious timescale but this is an ambitious project, the chance to break the mould and break some records to get things done in the national interest.”
Boris Johnson described the royal yacht as “somewhere where the UK can show itself off to the world”.
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The Prime Minister told LBC: “On the national flagship, as I prefer to, to call it.
“It is a project that will not only help to drive, revive the shipbuilding industry in this country, drive immediate jobs and growth for young people, immediate job opportunities for young people in a sector in which this country used to lead the world.
“But when you consider the opportunity for the UK, as we compete now for inward investment in the UK, we need a forum, a place where the best of British business and industry can come together to showcase what we have to offer, and, you know what I mean by, by MIPIM, the world trade fairs, the expos.
“We need somewhere where the UK can show itself off to the world and attract investment and that will drive jobs and growth in the UK, not just in shipbuilding but across every sector of the UK.”
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