Spending Review: Hampshire workers await defence cuts

Image caption,
The future of the carriers contract is being discussed by ministers and military chiefs

Thousands of workers in the defence industry across the south of England are waiting nervously ahead of the Spending Review announcement next week.

It is estimated defence spending supports 35,000 jobs in Hampshire.

One of the key decisions will be the future of the Royal Navy's two new aircraft carriers which are being partly built in Portsmouth.

The Ministry of Defence will reveal where the cuts will come in the Strategic Defence Review on Tuesday.

The government gave the go-ahead for the new HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales vessels in 2008 at a cost of £5.2bn.

But the cost is understood to have already risen by £200m.

Last month, the BBC revealed cancelling one of the ships would cost more than the building both.

Construction of the ships has already started in Portsmouth.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, former senior naval officer, said: "I think we will get the carriers but I think what we will see is a delay to some of the combat aircraft.

"What the carriers will end up as is multi-purpose platforms which can be used for all sorts of things.

"I think they will be good value for money and are needed in the modern world because it is going to get much more turbulent."

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