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28 Sep, 2021 14:29

‘Can we feed hungry kids first?’ Brits unimpressed with Boris Johnson’s plans for ‘galactic Britain’ amid benefit cuts

‘Can we feed hungry kids first?’ Brits unimpressed with Boris Johnson’s plans for ‘galactic Britain’ amid benefit cuts

Downing Street’s announcement that Britain will be the first country to launch a rocket into orbit from Europe next year has not gone down well with all Brits, with some suggesting London could better spend the money elsewhere.

On Monday, Boris Johnson’s government released a statement underlining the National Space Strategy which “cements the UK’s ambition to become the leading provider of commercial small satellite launches in Europe by 2030.”

The plan hopes to see the UK become the first nation to launch a rocket into orbit from the European continent in 2022 with the government prioritising the development of spaceports across the country, notably in Cornwall and the Shetland Islands. The government said it hopes to capitalise on the UK’s competitive strength in small satellite manufacturing.

PM Johnson has hailed the move and vowed to create “galactic Britain,” one that cannot remain “earthbound.” 

However, not everyone was impressed with the government’s announcement and its timing, as Britain runs low on fuel and wholesale energy prices soar, with benefits due to be cut next week. 

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Lawyer and journalist Peter Stefanovic was among the first to dismiss the government’s announcement on Twitter, writing: “Cool. But how about we feed our hungry kids first?” 

Others were equally convinced the government’s statement was purely a distraction. 

“Oooh, quick. Look over there. There’s a National Space Strategy,” one Twitter user wrote sarcastically. 

Author Sathnam Sanghera called it “classic bluster” from the PM as some people in the UK were struggling to launch their cars from their own driveways.

Writer Karl Knights agreed, condemning the state of “Tory Britain” in which the government “can't afford to feed hungry children” and cuts benefits by £20 a week, but can afford to blast new rockets into space. “Make it make sense,” he pleaded.

Many others also highlighted the host of domestic issues faced by the UK as more appropriate priorities for London.

“Empty food shelves, fights over fuel, no money to keep the £20 UC uplift, record number of food banks,” one person wrote, saying that Johnson clearly has enough money to turn ‘Global Britain’ into ‘Galactic Britain’ – a reference to the PM’s blueprint for foreign policy priorities laid out in 2016.

“If public money is spent on this can we please send Boris Johnson up in [a rocket]?” another chimed in, questioning whether the plan could even be real. 

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London has long promised to enhance Britain’s burgeoning space sector which already employs 45,000 people. The size of the global industry was estimated to be worth £270 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to £490 billion by 2030. 

The spaceport in Newquay, Cornwall, has been discussed for many years and could boost the economy in the area where some of the most deprived neighborhoods in Britain are located.

Britain is also committing to the UK’s first Defence Space Portfolio as part of the strategy. The government will invest £1.4 billion to develop capabilities in addition to the £5 billion already committed to enhance the military’s satellite communications.

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