The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will this week announce that £350 million is to be spent on design contracts for a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines.

The announcement comes six months before the Lib Dem-led ‘Trident Alternatives Review’ is due to report, and ahead of a parliamentary decision in 2016 on whether or not to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said:

“This is an insult to the Lib Dems. The Trident Alternatives Review is a result of the Coalition agreement, allowing them to put forward alternatives to like-for-like replacement of Trident. Now when they come to report on their findings at the end of the year they will do so with design contracts already placed.

“This is either blatant double dealing by the Tories or the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing. Neither option inspires confidence in the government.

“What are the public to think? We are being told that there isn’t enough money for public services while the government throws £350 million from taxpayers at designs for nuclear-armed submarines. With a majority of public opinion in favour of scrapping Trident, being forced to pay for it while local libraries and hospitals are axed: that’s a tough pill to swallow.”