The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today welcomed the report into the Strategic Defence and Security Review produced by the House of Commons Defence Committee, which slams the “startling rapidity” of the process and the lack of consultation undertaken by the MoD.
The MPs criticise Ministers’ decision to formally exclude Trident from the review when “in practice, this decision [that the MoD must pay for Trident replacement from its own budget] seems to put the issue of Trident renewal into the SDSR without making this explicit, which unhelpfully reduces the transparency of the process.”
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “The Defence Committee rightly criticise the bizarre decision to exclude Trident from the Review. It is a nonsense to undertake a once-a-decade ‘strategic’ review but to exclude the single most expensive programme – Trident replacement – from it. In reality, the Treasury decision that Trident should be paid for out of the MoD main budget means everything in the SDSR is dependent on the Trident decision. Billions spent on a new generation of nuclear weapons are billions made unavailable for front-line units, aircraft carriers or cyber-security.
“Were the Trident replacement programme to suffer from anything like the 48% overspend experienced by the current Astute submarine programme, whole swathes of defence activity would have to be cut to pay for it. Not to even include consideration of a project that bring with it these risks is totally irresponsible.
“We welcome the MPs acknowledgment of the ‘general public opposition to the war in Iraq, and questionable support amongst the electorate for current operations in Afghanistan’. People have for too long felt ignored when it comes to Defence. We are told British forces are fighting ‘for democracy’ yet the public have no way of feeding in to the decisions being taken with our cash. As Nick Clegg said only last month ‘It is going to be difficult for someone who is going to receive less housing benefit because of the changes we are introducing to understand why at the same time we should spend huge, huge sums of money in a hurry on replacing Trident in full.’ We couldn’t agree more. This half-baked defence review could have offered a chance for the Coalition to engage the millions of people who feel let down by the foreign wars that have been launched in their name. Sadly, it seems the deafness of the MoD continues.”
Yesterday, CND launched a new report which shows the net impact of replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system will be to cause an overall reduction in defence employment, due to the need to scrap more labour-intensive conventional defence activities to pay for Trident.
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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.