December 6, 2021

UK: £300m airport for 4,000 people

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Saint-Helena-682_1091195aFrom The Sun UK

MINISTERS are to spend £300million on an airport for a tiny island — £75,000 for each person living there.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the UK had an “obligation” to build the facility on St Helena.

The South Atlantic island (population 4,000) is a British Overseas Territory and can only be reached by water on Royal Mail ship St Helena, which needs replacing.

A ship would cost £64million and operating costs would follow, said Mr Mitchell.

An airport could bring financial independence, possibly freeing the Government from paying more than £20million a year in budgetary support. Mr Mitchell added: “A new ship would provide a costly service, but not a solution to St Helena’s stagnation and perpetual dependence on UK aid.”

An airport provided the “best value” for taxpayers — the initial cost “outweighed by the long-term benefits”.

The previous Labour Government ditched its plan for the airport due to soaring costs.

Critics yesterday questioned the plan at a time of massive Government cutbacks.

Mr Mitchell’s department and the NHS are the only two to escape recent cuts, Former International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said the airport cost was estimated at £300million last year and demanded an updated bill.

IMAGE: ‘Perpetual dependence on UK’ … island of St Helena in South Atlantic

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