Saturday 27th February, London. March to Trafalgar Square Rally with contributions from a range of political & celebrity speakers.

Rally speakers:

Jeremy Corbyn Labour leader
Nicola Sturgeon First Minister of Scotland
Caroline Lucas MP Green Party
Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru leader
Vanessa Redgrave actor
Christine Blower, NUT
Mark Serwotka PCS
Giles Fraser 
Francesca Martinez

Organised by: CND »  national demonstration to protest against Britain's nuclear weapons system: Trident.

 No to government plans to buy a new system at a cost of £100 billion. Parliament will be voting on this in 2016. So this is urgent – we can't delay.

The majority of the British people, including the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other parliamentary party leaders, oppose nuclear weapons. They are weapons of mass destruction that can kill millions. They don't keep us safe and they divert resources from essential spending.

Let's get message out loud and clear: we don't want Trident and we don't want a new Trident.

 

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 Gill Cox, CND spoke on Trident at our AGM January 2016

 

Trident replacement: Costs rise and timetable slips by Nuclear Information Service

Date: 23 November 2015

The costs of building four new submarines for the UK's Trident nuclear weapons programme has risen to at least £31 billion pounds, with the submarines not scheduled to enter into service until the early 2030s according to the government's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

The review, presented to Parliament by Prime Minster David Cameron, reveals that cost estimates for the new submarines have risen by around 20 per cent over the past year.  

In an update to Parliament on the 'Successor' Trident replacement submarine programme published by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in December 2014 the costs of the new submarines were estimated at £25 billion – significantly lower than the latest estimate - whilst the 2006 White Paper on Trident replacement gave an even lower figure of £11 – 14 billion at 2006/7 prices.

In addition to the anticipated costs, the government has set aside a contingency of £10 billion for the Successor project, indicating a risk that costs could increase beyond the current estimates.

The SDSR report says that the costs of the design phase for the new submarines – currently underway - has now reached £3.9 billion, compared with MoD's May 2011 estimate of £3 billion when the 'initial gate' decision was made to commence design work.

The report also reveals that the schedule for bringing the new submarines into service has been put back.  The 2006 White Paper on Trident replacement stated that the current submarines “are likely to start leaving service from the early 2020s”, while the SDSR now says that the first submarine will enter into service in the “early 2030s”.  The revised cost and timetable “reflect the greater understanding we now have about the detailed design of the submarines and their
manufacture”.

The SDSR describes the Successor submarine programme as “a national endeavour”, and one of the largest government investment programmes, equivalent in scale to Crossrail or High Speed 2.  The government is evidently concerned at the vast scale of the programme, which Jon Thompson, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, recently described as “the single biggest future financial risk we face”, labelling the project as “a monster” and an “incredibly complicated area to estimate future costs”.  The SDSR announces a number of new management changes which are evidently intended to bring the programme under closer control.

A new team is to be established within MoD to take over  management of “all aspects of the defence nuclear enterprise”, including submarines, warheads, infrastructure, nuclear policy, and recruitment and retention of skilled personnel.  Earlier this year a senior MoD source involved in a high level review of the ministry's nuclear programme told the Times newspaper that “the whole nuclear side of things is in a complete mess”.  Ministers have apparently decided to accept the review's recommendation to set up a single new body to manage the programme.

A “new delivery body” will be set up to manage the submarine enterprise and strengthen arrangements for the procurement and in-service support of nuclear submarines.  The SDSR does not say whether the delivery body will be under the control of HM Treasury, as suggested recently by some newspapers, or whether it will remain within the Ministry of Defence.

The Successor programme will also see MoD move away from its usual 'Main Gate' approach to project management “which is not appropriate for a programme of this scale and complexity”, to a staged spending programme with new commercial arrangements between government and industry.

The next phase of the programme will commence in 2016 following the finalisation of investment proposals. The SDSR confirms that, before then, there will be a debate in Parliament on plans for the Trident replacement programme and the UK's current policy of permanently deploying at least one nuclear armed submarine on patrol.  The government intends to build four new submarines in order to ensure that one can always remain at sea.

The SDSR report also announced that nine new Boeing P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be procured to protect the Royal Navy's Trident submarines and aircraft carriers.

The report adds no detail to the justification for replacing the Trident submarines, stating only that “it would be irresponsible to assume that the UK will not in the foreseeable future be confronted with the kinds of extreme threat to our security or way of life which nuclear weapons seek to deter”, and that Trident “remains vital to our national security”.

The SDSR report restates policy on nuclear weapons which was unveiled following the 2010 SDSR, describing the UK's nuclear weapons as a “minimum deterrent”.  Submarines on patrol will continue to carry 40 nuclear warheads and no more than eight operational missiles.  The UK will retain no more than 120 operationally available warheads and, by the mid 2020s the overall nuclear weapon stockpile will have been reduced to no more than 180 warheads.

Policies on the UK's 'nuclear posture', outlining the circumstances under which the UK might use nuclear weapons, remain unchanged and are “deliberately ambiguous”, although they will be kept   “under constant review”.

The SDSR also quietly breaks the news that work on a possible new UK Trident warhead has been put back.  Work on options for replacing the current warhead is currently underway but a replacement warhead will not be required until “at least the late 2030s, possibly later”.  The 2006 White Paper had previously indicated that the UK's existing warhead design “will last into the 2020s”.  A decision on replacing the warhead may be required in this Parliament or early in the next.

The SDSR describes the UK as “a responsible Nuclear Weapons State” which is “committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons”.  The UK recognises its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and  “will continue to press for key steps towards multilateral disarmament, including the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and successful negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty”.

In total the MoD will spend £178 billion over the next decade on weapons and equipment, of which £12 billion is extra money.  However, the number of civilians employed by the MoD is to be reduced by almost 30% to 41,000.

 

 

 

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Explosive revelations on Trident safety by Navy whistleblower

Special News Bulletin

William McNeilly, a 25 year old Royal Navy engineering technician, has published an account of a patrol on board Trident submarine HMS Vanguard on the internet describing in detail a series of alarming incidents and describing the submarine as being “in the worst of the worst condition”. 

His exposures not only put safety standards in the Trident programme under the spotlight, but also bring into question HMS's Vanguard's ability to successfully fire its battery of missiles were the command to launch a nuclear attack ever given.

Read all about William McNeilly's revelations and see our analysis of his claims in the Nuclear Information Service reports:

 

Submariner: 'Trident is so broken it can't even do the tests that prove it works'

Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly has exposed a shocking catalogue of equipment failures, security breaches, and near-miss accidents on board HMS Vanguard, one of the Navy's nuclear-armed Trident submarines.  Read more.

 

Submarine faults bring into question UK's ability to successfully launch a Trident nuclear strike

The McNeilly revelations indicate that the UK may not be able to guarantee launch of the any-time nuclear strike that the Trident system is designed to deliver.  Read more.

 

'Massive cover-up' over UK – France submarine collision

William McNeilly's account has provided new information about an underwater collision involving two nuclear armed submarines.  Read more.

 

Secret MoD manual acknowledges risks posed by Trident missile fuel

Information revealed by William McNeilly has confirmed that the dangers from an accident involving a Trident nuclear weapon are more serious than the Ministry of Defence has said publicly.  Read more.

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Stafford and Stone Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament  meet at the Quaker House on Foregate Street, Stafford to be notified of future meetings please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

CND

click here to see cost of our nuclear weapons and what we could do for the same money http://www.cnduk.org/scraptrident/ 

 

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament campaigns non-violently to achieve British nuclear disarmament – for scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons system and preventing its replacement. But we recognise that Britain’s nuclear weapons are only a small part of the problem, so we also work to secure an international Nuclear Weapons Convention which will ban nuclear weapons globally, as chemical and biological weapons have been banned.

 

Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said

'Danny Alexander is right to point out what he describes as the "real significance of this debate for the future of our country" – it's high-time that Labour and the Tories realise that a blind commitment to wasting well over £100bn on a new nuclear weapons system is not what the public want.'

West Midlands CND, 54 Allison Street, Birmingham B5 5TH.  Tel. 0121 643 4617 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Financial Times: Study counts cost of Trident - March 21, 2012 

James Blitz, the FT s Defence and Diplomatic Editor summarising the study findings, writes:

Britain would save almost 84bn over the next 50 years if it were to abandon plans to replace the submarines that launch its independent nuclear deterrent. 

As politicians at Westminster debate whether the UK should begin building boats to carry the Trident D-5 missile, an independent cross-party commission has published a report detailing what the long-term savings from cancellation would be.

According to the study by Basic, a think-tank, cancellation of the nuclear weapons programme would produce substantial cost savings of 83.5bn over the period 2016 to 2062, equivalent to an annual average saving of 1.86bn a year .

I remember the author, Keith Hartley, a leading defence economist at the University of York, as a compelling contributor to a ECAAR conference some years ago.

The final decision on whether to build the submarines must be made by 2016, at which point the main gate contractual payments must start to BAE Systems, the main supplier.

Though the three main parties are committed to a submarine-based deterrent, Blitz considers that the report of the Basic Trident Commission headed by three leading parliamentary figures: Lord Browne of Ladyton, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Sir Menzies Campbell could have an effect on the domestic debate:

Professor Hartley s report will be seen as further evidence of the immense financial pressure that the successor programme for the deterrent is putting on the Ministry of Defence equipment budget. According to some experts, rebuilding the deterrent could consume at least 30% of the MoD s entire equipment programme by the end of this decade.

BASIC s summary corrects the FT s grim focus on job losses from 2025 to 2052 which omitted the following points:

Professor Keith Hartley analysed the impacts arising from possible options and concluded that if a future government decided to cancel the programme we would have a substantial period of time for future government intervention in particularly-exposed local economies, because of existing contracted work.

Submarine manufacture is particularly capital-intensive, so that more alternative jobs could be created with the same investment.

Professor Hartley concludes that cancellation of the Trident renewal programme could produce substantial cost savings of up to 83.5 billion over the period 2016 to 2062, equivalent to an annual average saving of 1.86 billion.

 

Trident: opposed in the 80s by most of the Thatcher cabinet but now causing Cameronian sabre-rattling

A bonus from the FT:

Two-thirds of Margaret Thatcher s cabinet were opposed to renewing Britain s nuclear missile defence system, according to newly released government documents. Confidential papers from 1981 show that most of the cabinet disagreed with Mrs Thatcher over the need to replace Britain s ageing Polaris missiles with the US-made Trident system.

 

And now:

Contingency plans to transfer Britain s nuclear deterrent to England if Scotland declares independence are being examined by the Ministry of Defence.Officials warn that London would demand billions in compensation from Edinburgh to fund the move.

A spokesman for Alex Salmond, Scottish first minister, said: The UK government should have a care, and stop this sabre rattling.

The vast majority of MSPs [members of the Scottish parliament], as well as the churches, trade unions, and civic society across the nation totally oppose Trident nuclear weapons being based in Scotland and in the last Westminster parliament a majority of Scottish MPs opposed the renewal of Trident.

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The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament condemned 19 May 2011 Con Dem government decision to authorise billions of pounds of further spending on the Trident replacement programme, prior to the major decision point on the nuclear weapons system, not due to be taken until 2016.


However, CND welcomed the launch of a government study into alternatives to Trident, to be led by Lib Dem Defence Minister Nick Harvey as providing the opportunityfor other options - so far excluded for reasons of dogma rather than on an evidential basis - to be considered.

A further £3bn is due to be spent ahead of the main decision point in 2016 on top of the 900m spent on planning the replacement to date plus the costs of the current system. Whatever choice is reached in 2016, major elements of the first boats will already have been ordered. It was announced today that £380m is expected to be spent on the first submarine and £145m will be spent on the second, even before Parliament has had a chance to debate whether they are needed.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said "Committing billions more to this ruinously expensive white elephant is something the government should be forced to justify every time police numbers are cut, hospitals reduce their services or public servants are laid off. The government seems willing to pay whatever it takes for these weapons, with the estimated bill almost doubling since they were first proposed. The cost estimate is now reaching £25bn. Tens of billions more can be added to that for the other parts of the system and for running costs. And that is not taking into account the fact that runaway increases in costs have blighted almost every major defence project in recent years.

"The Defence Secretary told MPs that no country currently has intent and capability to threaten the UK. With the US and Russia ridding themselves of hundreds of nuclear weapons, now is the perfect window of opportunity for Britain to push this global process forward by eliminating our own stockpile. Having city-destroying missiles eight times the power of the Hiroshima bomb patrolling 365 days a year is an expensive and irrelevant hang-over from a different era. Unfortunately, the fact that the Cold war ended 20 ago seems to have passed the government by. As a consequence, British taxpayers are being landed with a bill for a weapons system that actually makes the country and the world less secure. The Prime Minister today said he hoped to 'elevate' Trident beyond party political debate - surely due to a desire to exempt from scrutiny the decision to spend billions on a project that has yet to be agreed-upon.

Commenting on the review into alternatives to be led by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the Liberal Democrat MP Nick Harvey, she continued:
"We welcome the announcement of the review into alternatives to the current plan, but the disdain with which it was introduced by Liam Fox suggests he will consider nothing but a 'like-for-like' replacement which maintains the Cold War posture of continuous submarine patrols. Even if the review proposed a half-way house towards disarmament, such as creating a 'virtual' deterrent with the materials and boats on stand-by to be reconstituted if a future threat emerges, it seems that the Conservative part of the Coalition see Trident as such an article of faith that they will not question it regardless of cost or usefulness. We will push for the fullest possible publication of the findings of this review, which should inform the thinking of all political parties who may be taking the final decision on Trident in 2016.