THE BLOG

Austerity Continues as Trident Spending Rises

18/03/2016 17:19 GMT | Updated 19/03/2017 09:12 GMT

The economy slows yet the government persists in following the same scorched-earth cuts policy which has already so abjectly failed. And of course this isn't just an abstract failure, to be pointed out on a graph in an economic journal, it has real human consequences.

This budget is a total disaster for some of the most vulnerable people in the UK. The chancellor has announced cuts to welfare for disabled people, cuts to pensions for nurses and teachers, and cuts to local government funding. The government's claim that we're "all in it together" has clearly been abandoned.

The rich will continue to get richer and when it comes to spending on favoured projects - no matter how destructive or unnecessary they may be - like Trident, the UK's nuclear weapons system, it seems the government can always find the money.

The government remains determined to replace Trident at a cost of over £100billion, even though an increasing body of expert opinion now suggests that Trident will be made redundant through new technological advances in cyber-warfare and underwater drones.

Trident, far from making us safe, now poses a grave danger to our security.

The cost of Trident continues to rise

When CND first used the £100billion figure we were accused of making wild exaggerations but, in light of new data, the figure now seems conservative.

The cost of Trident replacement hit the headlines at the end of last year when the government's Strategic Defence Review came out. It states that that the budget for building four new Trident submarines is set to rise to £41billion, rather than the original £25billion budget. The £41billion figure includes a £10billion contingency which, based on past record, means £41billion will be spent, and possibly even more.

But the cost of the submarines is only one part of the cost of Trident. Running costs must also be factored in.

Crispin Blunt MP, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, has calculated these 'in service' costs using official figures from a Defence Minister. When you add these to the cost of the submarines, we are now looking at a figure in the region of £183billion.

Those who deplore the savagery of government attacks on the welfare state will easily think of better ways to invest this money - in health, education or housing. Those who watch with horror the depletion of our conventional forces and weaponry will choose real ways to boost our country's security - not the irrelevant posturing of a Cold War system.

It is time for a major policy rethink. There is no room for vanity projects which just reveal the skewed priorities, and the head-in-the-sand approach of our decision-makers.

So we call on the government to cancel Trident replacement and invest the money instead in things that are of value to our society. Trident makes us less safe, and as this budget shows, directs resources away from things of actual use to our country and our communities.

Last month, over 60,000 people joined CND's Stop Trident demonstration. It was the largest demo of its kind in over a generation. It brought together the Labour Leader, the Scottish First Minister, the leader of Plaid Cymru, as well as cultural figures, trade unionists and faith leaders.

This growing alliance represents the reality of what's happening in our society. People across the country are now rethinking Trident and it's time for the government to catch up.