The Church of Scotland has called for more honesty from the Government on the amount of money being spent in relation to the Trident nuclear weapon system, which it opposes.
Public funds are being thrown at the project, despite political assurances that no decision would be taken on its replacement until after the next general election.
The Rev Ian Galloway, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, said: “We are very concerned that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) appears to be committed to spending over £2 billion of our money on submarines to carry Trident before the official decision on whether or not to go ahead with it."
“This will mean that many will argue that, having spent all this money, we can’t cancel Trident,” he declared.
The Kirk minister continued: “The defence review indicated that a decision on whether or not to build a new generation of nuclear weapons would be delayed until 2016. Spending all this money now will prejudice that decision, and we’ll get to the 2016 vote only to find out that we’re already tied into various contracts.
“Familiar voices will then be saying to us that it’s cheaper to go ahead with business as usual than to scrap Trident. Remember that the defence review committed us to building two giant aircraft carriers because building them is actually cheaper than cancelling them - and we can’t even afford to buy any planes to put on those carriers,” said Mr Galloway.
Following a freedom of information request by Greenpeace, the Ministry of Defence has revealed that the list of advance purchase items which it intends to order includes:
* Hull structure and structural fittings - including castings and forgings, steel and control surfaces.
* Primary and secondary propulsion systems.
* Electrical generation, conversion, and distribution - including turbo generators, platform management system (software), main switchboards, internal communications, diesel generators, main static converters, main DC distribution - distribution converters, cathodic protection system, degaussing system, computer information systems, main battery, and remote visual surveillance system.
* Various components of the combat systems
* Ship services – including the air purification system, chilled water plant, main hydraulics system, HP air bottles, submarine control console and atmosphere analyser system.
The Church of Scotland remains opposed to nuclear weapons, and has called on the UK Government to have the courage and leadership to repudiate them to help facilitate international nuclear disarmament.