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MoD set to foot the bill for ‘national yacht’ vanity project

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The new "national yacht" will replace the Royal Yacht Britannia (above) which was retired 24 years ago

The government has confirmed that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) will pay for the much-vaunted “national yacht” to the tune of an eye-watering £200 million.

The yacht, which is supposed to boost UK trade and business around the world, will be the successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia which was officially retired in 1997 after 44 years in service.

By contrast, the new “national yacht” is expected to be in service for only 30 years.

A Downing Street spokesman has said the yacht will sail the globe as the UK’s “national flagship” with a view to attracting “investment into the economy and boost trade”.

In view of the MoD funding the yacht will be effectively owned and operated by the Royal Navy.

Amid uncertainty over the yacht’s real purpose – with some decrying it as a vanity project – the opposition Labor Party has called on the government to clearly demonstrate how it will be used to boost trade.

To that end, Labor’s shadow Treasury minister, Bridget Phillipson, said the yacht should be built in the UK to support jobs in shipyards and called for “a real focus on value for money at every stage”.

But Tory Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, hit back immediately by claiming that despite costing a “huge amount of money”, the project was worth it as the yacht would act as a “symbol of Britain”.

Speaking to Sky News, Kwarteng claimed the yacht “would really enhance what we call our soft power”.  

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