14 December 2006: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today questioned the government’s spending priorities as it announced it would close 2,500 post offices across the country to prevent further losses of £4million per week.
The estimated figure of £25billion to replace the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system is equivalent to keeping all 2,500 post offices open for a further 120 years.
Whether it is the closure of post offices, the NHS funding crisis or growing student debt there are increasingly areas of public life which require significant increases in government funding to ensure they can operate more effectively and provide a good quality of life to ordinary people.
CND is concerned therefore that the government is willing to pour tens of billions of pounds into weapons of mass destruction by replacing Trident. The government has estimated Trident replacement will cost £15-20billion but has since admitted this does not include maintenance costs. Some estimates put Trident replacement as costing as much as £76billion.
CND is not alone, at its Annual Conference this year, the TUC passed a motion stating “Congress believes that in the absence of any rational argument for Trident replacement such expenditure would not only be immoral but a scandalous waste of public funds that could otherwise be invested in health, education, pensions, transport and manufacturing.”
Kate Hudson, Chair of CND, said: “Once again the government appears willing to starve vital public services of funds whilst writing a blank cheque for Trident replacement. It has yet to make a convincing case for maintaining nuclear weapons whilst everyday we hear stories about post offices, hospitals, universities all needing more money, often following many years of underfunding. The refit of the Trident submarines, still ongoing at Devonport in Plymouth, has cost hundreds of millions of pounds more than the government expected. We have almost come to expect it with MoD projects. Who is to say Trident replacement won’t cost billions more than the government will announce?”
Notes to Editor:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.