Sunday, 3 January 2016

Trident Costs Escalating - Before a Single Vote to Approve Renewal

The cost of Trident nuclear weapons on the River Clyde is escalating– before a single vote has been taken in the House of Commons to enable it, as figures from the House of Commons Library suggest that nearly £5 billion has already been spent on what the Ministry of Defence (MoD) describe as the ‘concept phase’ and the ‘assessment phase‘.

The SNP has revealed that the total estimated costs are now running at a massive £4.8 billion.

The concept phase had an allocated spend of £905 million and the assessment phase initially had an allocated spend of £3.3 billion. However, the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) confirmed that a further £600 million would be spent during the design phase of the programme prior to taking the programme forward in 2016, amounting to £3.9 billion in those initial phases. As the programme moves into the next phase the MOD will have spent an estimated £4.8 billion on the Trident replacement programme.

Brendan O’Hara MP, SNP Defence spokesperson commented:

“People will be rightly shocked that before the government has even bothered to put this to a vote in the House of Commons – they are just pushing ahead, spending billions and billions of taxpayers' money on preparing for these obscene and redundant weapons.

“A billion here - a billion there - all based on the arrogant assumption that parliament will do what the Tories want and at a time when austerity cuts are deep and unending. We know that Labour have bottled it on Trident – with Labour and its Scottish branch office at loggerheads, so once again the SNP are the only effective opposition at Westminster.

“This cost would be indefensible under any circumstances – but at a time of deep austerity and swingeing cuts – it is completely unacceptable. Trident is the UK’s ultimate virility symbol – it allows David Cameron to wield what remains of imaginary influence – proving beyond any doubt it is not a military asset – it is a political one.

“In his memoirs, former Prime Minister, Tony Blair – by no stretch of the imagination a unilateralist – wrote of Trident: 'The expense is huge and the utility, non-existent in terms of military use.' But he decided against cancelling Trident because in his words, it would be 'too big a downgrading of our status as a nation.'

“Trident is an immoral obscene and redundant weapons system – the deadliest nuclear arsenal in history. It is also one that is already costing us a fortune – and that is before a decision has been made. The SNP will vote against Trident at every opportunity – whenever the Tories get round to it.”
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