The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today called on Gordon Brown to agree to a reduction in the UK’s stocks of nuclear warheads, as reportedly being investigated by officials. As covered in today’s Financial Times , Downing Street officials are said to be considering the possibility of a 25% cut in warhead numbers from around 160 to around 120. This would complement the reduction in the number of missile tubes from 16 to 12 on the Vanguard-successor submarines, planned to be built as part of the Trident replacement programme, and the potential reduction from four to three submarines, proposed by Gordon Brown last month and to be decided upon in December.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “We strongly urge Gordon Brown to go ahead with this proposed reduction. Making the cut before the crucial non-proliferation and disarmament talks in the spring would be a real boost to efforts to reduce and then rid the world of these most awful of weapons. The US and Russia are expected to announce major cut-backs over coming months and a British initiative would pile pressure on other nuclear states to follow suit. If serious momentum can be built before the review of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May then the chances of a breakthrough deal there are greatly increased.

“Serious movement on reducing warheads helps reinforce the positive trend towards ‘global zero’, but it remains the case that the biggest contribution that Britain could make to multilateral disarmament would be to scrap the Trident system and its replacement altogether.

“This cut is a start but it is only a step in the right direction. A 25% warhead cut will not provide significant cost savings on the £100bn bill for British nuclear weapons over the lifetime of Trident and its replacement. As recently as this summer ministers sneaked out a £1bn a year funding boost to the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, announced by a written statement during the Parliamentary recess. New developments there continue apace, whilst scrapping Trident now would free up tens of billions of pounds for socially useful spending, from health and education to housing and transport, currently under threat from recessionary cut-backs.”

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For further information and interviews please contact  Ben Soffa, CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.

Missile tube cutback: In a speech at the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Conference in London, Brown said of the Trident replacement submarines, “our latest assessment is that we can meet this [defence] requirement with 12 – not 16 – missile tubes, as are on current submarines”.