George Cowcher

THE Devon Chamber of Commerce is part of the Devonport Taskforce campaign, and wrote to the Prime Minister Teresa May, setting out the business and employment cases for keeping the Royal Navy’s capacity and Royal marines in the City.

The Chamber is heartened to receive a letter from the Defence Procurement Minister Guto Webb MP, setting out the basis of a Governmental Defence Review, said George Cowcher, the chief executive of the Devon Chamber.

Mr Cowcher, said: “The response from the Minister gives assurances about the future of the Royal Naval Dockyard at Devonport – and its continuing importance to the Royal Navy.

 Devonport Dockyard

“Devon Chamber will continue to champion and press for the retention and yes, even enhancement of amphibious/marine capabilities in Plymouth as part of the Government’s Defence Review,” he said.

City campaigners and organisations are fighting any proposals to take HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark out of service as part of a new round of cost cutting measures suggested by the Ministry of Defence.

 Plymouth Station

Meanwhile, business chiefs welcomed the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling – concerning the future of rail services in the South West region.

The Government has committed track upgrades and an increase in maintenance spending on regular services between Exeter and Okehampton, but we see these as interim measures, said Richard Stevens, chairman of the Devon Chamber.

Mr Stevens, said: “What we urgently need is responses to the Peninsula Rail Task Force Report, which if the recommendations are implemented protects the resilience of services to Plymouth and the South West.”

“The electrification of the Devon Banks between Totnes and Plymouth are needed to increase line speed and reduce journey times, and a positive response to these requests and recommendations are essential,” he said.

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