The Chancellor of the Exchequer is set to waste £205 billion on Trident in his budget on Wednesday 22nd November 2017. Here’s the budget he should announce instead.
In this Budget, the Government will cancel the planned replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons programme, and release a wave of investment to the tune of £205billion over the years to come. The time has passed for this out-dated, irrelevant, and overly-priced system of the Cold-War era, and the time has come for investing in the people instead.
We will end austerity, and finally bring to a close the assault on the people of this country who have been paying for an economic crisis not of their making. To that end, from the £31 billion we will save not manufacturing four successor Trident submarines, we will cancel the £3.5 billion in cuts planned for this year, and raise public sector pay in line with inflation at an estimated cost of £4billion per year for the next two years.
Of course, the £31 billion cost of the four successor submarines is but the tip of the iceberg. Beyond submarine manufacture, our decision to cancel Trident replacement offers us an extra £174 billion in the medium to long term.
For those whose jobs are currently dependent on Trident, and for those seeking to expand their skills in new and innovative technologies, this Government will establish a Defence Diversification Agency. This agency will take the many talents of those who already work in our defence industries, and offer them the opportunity to develop and adapt their skills to be of use across an array of industries, including aerospace, renewables, shipbuilding, mechanical and electrical design, and Information Technology. This will also open many opportunities for our young people seeking training and employment in the technologies of the future. This agency, coupled with a massive increase in this Government’s expenditure on research and development, will form part of the building blocks for creating job sustainability well into the future.
There are also many areas of our society where investment will bring considerable economic returns, and we will use the savings from Trident replacement to offer sustainable and balanced investment in these areas in the years to come. On housing, we will invest £3 billion a year to create 50,000 new and affordable homes. On education, we will reinstate Educational Maintenance Allowance, and on health, we will provide our NHS with an extra £4 billion a year for the next four years.
Finally, we will direct defence investment to supporting our peace building capabilities, and to efforts to combat terrorism and cyber-warfare.
The spending choices we have made today with the savings from Trident replacement, are only a fragment of the possibilities that are open to us. Of course, we cannot spend all the money saved on Trident in one day, in one budget, or even in one Parliament. However, finally cancelling the replacement of Trident will enable Governments well in to the future to prioritise the needs of our people over the needs of an ineffective nuclear weapons programme that can never be used.