Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “We welcome the reduction in the UK’s operational stockpile of nuclear warheads. This 25% reduction is a good first step towards the eventual elimination of all our nuclear weapons – a legally-binding commitment Britain made when it signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968. We hope the Government will build on this to create positive momentum amongst other middle-ranking nuclear states like France and China to pursue similar reductions alongside those already being pursued by the US and Russia.
“The savings announced today are welcome, but a drop in the ocean when compared to the overall project costs. A £1.2bn saving amounts to less than 1.6% of the lifetime cost of the system. If David Cameron was really serious about saving money he should have cut the remaining 98% of the cash as well. With nuclear threats from states not even regarded as being amongst the top rank of challenges facing the country, we’d not be any less secure without these weapons and could really take the lead in pushing towards Obama’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
“Pushing the main decision on new submarines back until after the next election will hopefully allow politicians to catch up with what the majority of the public and a growing number of military voices acknowledge – that nuclear weapons are a costly irrelevance to the threats Britain faces.”
“The reduction in the overall size of the warhead stockpile from 225 to 180 is welcome, meaning the destruction of 45 warheads. Whilst this is not due to be completed until the mid 2020s the UK could build confidence in its progress by annual declarations of how many warheads have been irreversibly disabled. The fact that no decision will be taken on building replacement warheads during this parliament is also very positive. Had the UK gone ahead with such a programme it would have had seriously damaging international implications, undermining the UK’s ability to oppose other states’ pursuit of nuclear weapons.
You can read the Strategic Defence and Security Review on the MoD website.