Trident replacement 'is bankrupting the Ministry of Defence'

By Agencies
May 15, 2018

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that the Ministry of Defence will spend £2.5 billion in boosting Britain’s submarine building projects.

Speaking at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria, he announced £960 million worth of contracts have been signed to ramp up the next phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines.

He also announced that the Ministry of Defence has signed a £1.5 billion contract to build a seventh Astute hunter-killer submarine for the Royal Navy, and opened a new £100 million submarine construction building in the Cumbria factory.

On 11 May 2018 the Pubic Accounts Committee published a report The Defence Equipment Plan 2017–2027 and said, "A significant affordability gap has again opened up; with forecast costs at least £4.9 billion, and potentially as much as £20.8 billion, more than the £179.7 billion budget. 

"The Department is reluctant to present openly an assessment of the affordability gap and has failed to report transparently to Parliament and the public about the financial risks it faces."

 Commenting on the Defence Secretary's annoucement, Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said, "Today's announcement by Gavin Williamson that the government is signing contracts with BAE Systems to the tune of £930 million for Trident replacement submarines is another indication of our government's gross irresponsibility.

"The MoD is facing a £21 billion budget deficit and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has already reported that the MoD has run out of money and  'simply does not have enough money to buy all the equipment it says it needs.'

"Business as usual cannot be an option - the consequences for other defence sectors and wider public spending are just too serious. In writing blank cheques for Trident replacement - ring-fencing an amorphous budget no matter what the impact on other areas of spending - it is bankrupting the MoD and putting the security of Britain at risk.

"In light of the PAC findings, we demand an inquiry into the cost of Trident replacement and its impact on wider spending. The government must be forced to come clean about the full cost of replacing Britain's nuclear weapons system.

"MoD spending has run out of control and the government must be called to account for its profligate and irresponsible spending. The £205 billion Trident replacement scheme must be scrapped. The money should be spent instead on addressing the real security threats we face, like terrorism, climate change and cyber warfare."

* Read the Public Accounts Committee report The Defence Equipement Plan 2017-27 here

* Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament http://www.cnduk.org/home

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