Ahead of the Strategic Defence and Security Review being released later today, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament welcomed the delay to the ‘main gate’ decision on Trident replacement, saying it will give time for politicians to catch up with majority public opinion in rejecting the need for new nuclear weapons. CND cautioned that despite a reported ‘saving’ of £750m much larger sums are due to be spent every year on maintaining the current system and upgrading the warhead factory at Aldermaston.
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “Pushing this decision back to 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. Yesterday’s National Security Strategy went some way towards acknowledging this when it excluded the threat Trident is meant to protect against – attack by a nuclear-armed state – from the top tier of the Government’s own assessment of risks to Britain’s security.
“Despite this delay, vast spending on Trident and its replacement looks set to continue, dwarfing the £750m being described as a ‘saving’. It is not yet clear whether this is any reduction in costs at all, or merely pushing some costs back into the years beyond the next government spending round. If this is the case, an accounting fix must not be presented as a reduction in the sums being squandered on the new weapons. Billions will still be spent every year on maintaining the current system and on upgrading the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Just one part of the system that supports Trident – the Aldermaston bomb factory – will cost the country £950m this year alone. The supposed ‘savings’ are a drop in the ocean compared to the £40bn or more that will be spent on nuclear weapons ahead of any new submarine even being launched.”