The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today responded to the upcoming Public Accounts Committee Report on Trident Replacement, saying that “in a recession, replacing Trident – which provides no real security – is an unaffordable gamble which the UK must not take”.
The cross-party group of senior MPs concludes that “value for money will be hard to achieve” on the project which includes an “unavoidable dependence on the American programme” for replacement missiles, the size of which will not be decided on until after the British submarines have been built.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “The report paints the picture of a project already in crisis, with no real financial control, costs already growing by millions and a delivery date described as ‘open to doubt’. None of this is surprising given the MoD’s current Astute submarine programme is three years late and 47% over budget. In a recession, replacing Trident – which provides no real security – is an unaffordable gamble which the UK must not take. With Obama proposing serious cuts to US and Russian stockpiles, it is lunacy for Britain to press ahead with spending £76bn on weapons of mass destruction, when everyday insecurity of jobs, homes and pensions is the real threat to our way of life.”
She continued, “A lurking nightmare for the MoD is that the replacement American missile may not even fit the British subs. It was a Bush-Blair deal that agreed UK access to new missiles, but with Obama taking nuclear reduction talks seriously and considering recessionary delays and cut-backs at the Pentagon, there is no guarantee that the Navy will get the missiles they were expecting at the time they’d want them. This would be a knock-out blow to the whole Trident replacement project.”
“The Committee says the MoD should commission independent research on its cost estimates. To meaningfully inform discussion, this must be presented to Parliament as part of a full debate this autumn. Despite the opposition of over 100 MPs ministers plan to sneak out the hugely important ‘Initial Gate’ report – on the first stage of the replacement process – during the Parliamentary recess this September. This gives no chance for democratic scrutiny. With taxpayers’ billions at stake, Gordon Brown must allow the MoD report to be debated by MPs, fully equipped with the latest information. The majority of the UK population opposes the replacement of Trident, and retired generals have recently stated that Trident is militarily useless and should be scrapped. Now is the time for the government to fully revisit this issue, cancel Trident replacement and spend the money on the genuine needs of the British people.”