UK plans to scrap ‘vanity’ £250m national flagship yacht

Royal Yacht

The UK is planning to scrap plans for a national flagship yacht after critics branded it a Boris Johnson “vanity project”.

Work on the £250m Royal Navy-crewed ship had been planned to start this year, with the boat to hit the water in 2024 or 2025. But, in an exclusive, the Mirror reports that new chancellor Jeremy Hunt will axe the plans in his upcoming round of spending cuts.

Former PM Johnson had billed the yacht as a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia, telling broadcaster LBC that it would “showcase what we have to offer” and attract wealthy investors.

Leader of the opposition Keir Starmer had previously urged the former PM to ditch the plans, calling for him to use the money on a fund to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Expected costs for the “floating embassy” had already risen from £200m to £250m last year, despite a Ministry of Defense (MoD) budget of £150m.

Earlier this month, former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said Johnson’s plans were not in the “realms of reality” and suggested it was a “glorious distraction” that should be scrapped, given the UK’s cost of living crisis.

The Mirror quotes defence secretary Ben Wallace saying: “The MoD has not assumed any liability for costs incurred by bidders in the design competition. And no design or manufacturing contracts have been placed.”

The Royal Yacht Britannia is currently open to tourists in Leith, Edinburgh. The MoD says an announcement about the replacement boat “will be made in due course.”

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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