Anti-nuclear weapons campaigners have welcomed a decision by Trades Union Congress 2017 to call on Labour to establish a Shadow Defence Diversification Agency ahead of the next general election.

The agency will address the long-term challenges of a shrinking manufacturing sector by “developing an overall national industrial strategy including the possibility of conversion of ‘defence’ capacity”.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“This is very welcome news. Jobs are often presented as an argument in favour of Trident replacement, so it’s essential that there is a plan to secure alternative high-skilled jobs – and to create many more jobs – if a Labour government decides to scrap the present government’s £205 billion scheme.

“Following the 40th Anniversary of the ‘Lucas Plan’ we need to learn the lessons of that historic vision which set out how to deploy highly skilled defence workers into others areas of Britain’s industrial economy. The Lucas Plan demonstrated the potential of using those skills for more socially beneficial economic activity, rather than weapons that would kill millions if they were used.

“A Shadow Defence Diversification Agency, involving the workforce, can begin the research now that a future government will need to scrap Trident and increase industrial employment.”