For immediate release: 21 July 2004

Despite the spin about defence spending cuts, Geoff Hoon has actually increased so-called defence spending from £29.7 billion this year to .4 billion by 2007-8. This equals an annual increase of 1.4% in real terms. The emphasis is on modernisation, bringing with it new digital systems closely integrated with US military systems, and a renewed commitment to maintaining the so-called ‘nuclear deterrent’. This includes ‘making the necessary investment at AWE Aldermaston’, and keeping open the options for a ‘necessary successor to Trident’. CND deplores these developments and urges the government to break its special nuclear relationship with the US.

CND Chair Kate Hudson said:

‘Geoff Hoon’s statement confirms our worst suspicions: increasing integration with the US military machine, and investment at AWE Aldermaston – Britain’s nuclear bomb factory. The government continually denies that it is intending to develop new nuclear weapons there, to be used in further pre-emptive wars, but these denials are looking increasingly weak. The reality is that our government buys in to the US’s new nuclear strategy – for new nuclear weapons to be used in pre-emptive wars – as outlined in the US Nuclear Posture Review. Sadly, this announcement shows that Britain is well on the way down that disastrous track.’

‘CND urges the government to comply with its nuclear disarmament obligations. Britain is committed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to abolish its nuclear weapons. So Britain should be scrapping Trident, not planning a successor and investing in a new generation of nuclear weapons.’


Notes to editor:

1. For further information please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859