British Trident nuclear weapons still more expensive

This video says about itself:

7 April 2014

Up to 2,000 protesters, blaring loud music and waving colourful banners, demonstrated Saturday against the presence of nuclear weapons in Glasgow. The protest began in George Square and moved through the streets of Glasgow with a police escort.

At the march were protesters from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, environmental groups, church organisations, the ruling Scottish National Party, Scottish Socialist Party, and Scottish Green Party members. The movement was united under the banner of the Scrap Trident campaign. The protest is part of a weekend of anti-nuclear events in Scotland, with workshops planned in George Square Sunday and a blockade of Faslane Naval Base, where the Trident missile system is located, Monday.

Trident enables the delivery of up to 200 nuclear tipped warheads to targets from submarines. The British government has said that replacing the Trident warheads could cost British taxpayers a little over £20 billion ($31 billion, €23 billion), but Greenpeace estimates that the long term costs could soar as high as £130 billion ($200 billion, €152 billion) over the lifetime of the warheads. Scrap Trident wants the funds for the replacement of the nuclear arsenal to be instead used on public services.

The renewal of the Trident nuclear defence system is an important issue in the run up to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. A 2010 YouGov poll showed that almost 70 per cent of Scots opposed the replacement of Trident.

By Luke James in Britain:

Trident costs soar by 6bn

Tuesday 24th november 2015

Cameron puts more cash aside for cold war weapons system

THE COST of renewing Britain’s cold-war nuclear submarines could spiral past £40 billion, David Cameron revealed yesterday.

The government originally estimated the cost of replacing Britain’s four Trident submarines would set back taxpayers £25bn.

But manufacturing costs have now been revised up to at least £31bn, according to the Prime Minister’s defence review.

And the government has set aside a further £10bn as a “contingency” fund in case it blows the original budget.

“The revised cost and schedule reflect the greater understanding we now have about the detailed design of the submarines and their manufacture,” the defence review document states.

The nuclear weapons spending boom comes just two days before Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce 30 per cent cuts to some public services.

The estimate does not even take into account the cost of servicing the submarines throughout their lifetime.

Tory MP Crispin Blunt, chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said last month that the total cost of servicing Trident would be £142bn.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament general secretary Kate Hudson said: “This is outrageous — the government has completely lost control of the budget.

“With the cost of new submarines rising by 60 per cent to £41bn — and in addition to the £142bn in-service costs reported by Crispin Blunt MP last month — Trident replacement could now rise to a staggering £183bn.”

“In its determination to replace this cold-war relic, the government is prepared to keep on spending, even if it’s to the detriment of conventional forces and tackling the real security threats we face, such as terrorism, cyber warfare and climate change.”

The defence review only commits the government to hold a debate on the “principle of continuous at-sea deterrence” rather than a vote.

A Downing Street spokeswoman also refused to pledge a vote yesterday, committing only to a debate.

Responding to outrage in the Commons, the PM promised: “Obviously at the appropriate moment, we’ll want to have a vote in this house.”

Despite the growing threat of terror attacks, Mr Cameron insisted Britain still faced “state-based threats” and insisted that Trident was “our ultimate insurance policy as a nation.”

His claim will be challenged today in a debate in Parliament on Trident renewal called by the SNP.

SNP Defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara MP said the Paris terror attacks showed “the threat to the UK isn’t from an expansionist rival nation state” but comes from terrorists.

“The simplest question to ask ourselves and the most difficult to answer is, in those circumstances, who will those Trident missiles be aimed at,” he said.

The Prime Minister also announced billions will be spent on two new 5,000-strong army “strike brigades,” a 10-year extension to the operational lifespan of the RAF’s Typhoon jets and new equipment for the SAS.

But the government announced plans to axe 30 per cent of the Ministry of Defence’s civil staff over the next five years.

80 thoughts on “British Trident nuclear weapons still more expensive

  1. The Western alliance governed by a small elite who are in power by corrupt means they do not represent the views of most aware people and are highly paid to continue backing militarism and are the oppressors of the middle and lower classes, as can be seen billions of dollars spent on the toys of destruction and the lower classes having to live in poverty? why?


  2. Wednesday 25th November 2015

    posted by Luke James in Britain

    DONALD TRUMP could have his finger poised over Britain’s nuclear button within 18 months, one MP claimed yesterday amid an ill-tempered Commons clash over Trident renewal.

    SNP defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara rubbished claims that Trident is an “independent nuclear deterrent,” saying the US president has the final say over firing the weapons.

    Mr O’Hara quoted a 2006 defence select committee report that said: “It is difficult to conceive of any situation in which a prime minister would fire Trident without prior US approval.”

    Pointing out that Mr Trump is leading the race to become the Republicans’ US presidential candidate, he asked: “Does anyone seriously think that Trident makes the world a safer place?”

    “Possessing Trident isn’t about defence,” he added. “It’s about the illusion of continuing past glories regardless of cost.

    “To put it in a more colloquial way, we’re acting as having a fur coat and nae knickers.”

    Tory Defence Secretary Michael Fallon delivered his own dire warnings over security as he defended Trident spending.

    “Our allies and our adversaries will be paying attention [to the vote],” he told MPs. “This is not a time to gamble with our security.”

    On jobs, he added: “Workers on the Clyde don’t want parliamentary motions. They want to be sure of a pay cheque every month. They want to make sure they have a job.”

    Mr O’Hara, whose Argyll & Bute constituency includes the Faslane naval base where the Trident subs are stationed, said it could have a “bright non-nuclear future.”

    A fractious — and at times farcical — debate came a day after the government published its defence review, which revealed that the cost of four new submarines had increased by £6 billion.

    Shadow defence minister Toby Perkins said the SNP was more interested in scoring “cheap political points” against Labour than scrutinising the government decision.

    With Labour MPs told to abstain on the vote, which Labour branded a “political stunt,” the SNP’s motion was defeated by 330 to 64.

    Veteran Kelvin Hopkins was among a handful of Labour MPs to vote with the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green MP Caroline Lucas against Trident renewal.

    Former Labour shadow defence secretary Des Browne weighed in to the party debate over Trident yesterday saying the submarines could soon be “rendered obsolete.”


    • As soon as a military plane or ship is completed in design it is obsolete? our future wars should be based upon design put on the table and strategy both sides at the the agreed time of war and who ever at that moment in time can show the can win that’s the end of that war before the interim of the next war? its all so obvious.


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  10. Tuesday 12th
    posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

    Corbyn hints at policy change by members

    JEREMY CORBYN hinted yesterday that Labour’s policy on Trident could be changed by a ballot of members to side-step a contentious battle at conference.

    The Labour leader, who last week replaced pro-nuclear shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle with his ally Emily Thornberry, said his mandate from the leadership election meant the party needed to reconsider its current policy.

    But one union representing workers in the nuclear industry said it would not “go quietly into the night” on the issue.

    General union GMB announced plans to call a conference of staff in the sector to ensure “their voices are heard in this debate.”

    Interviewed on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday, Mr Corbyn called for a “serious, intelligent debate” on the issue.

    “What role do nuclear weapons play in the modern world?” he asked.

    “Couldn’t Britain play a part in bringing about a nuclear-free world? Couldn’t we instead look at the real causes of instability in the world: famines, floods, environmental disasters?”

    A vote on Trident was avoided at Labour conference last year after neither unions nor constituency delegates voted to prioritise the issue.

    GMB and fellow nuclear union Unite indicated they would vote against anti-Trident motions if they were heard, but at Scottish Labour’s conference the following month Unite voted for a successful motion committing the party to disarmament north of the border.

    However Mr Corbyn said whether nuclear policy would be determined by a future conference vote or a vote of individual members “hasn’t been decided” yet.

    “My whole election programme was based on the need for ordinary people to be able to participate much more in politics,” he said.

    “So that leaders don’t go away and write policy and executive groups don’t go away and decide what the policy is, that ordinary people do.”


    • The problem Corbyn has is after centuries of compounded mind indoctrination of not only the mass of people but the top end of town whom are doing well with the systematic repression of the many and change is hard to adjust to even if slavery ends for the many as the responsibility of existence is to great to let go of what the population has grown accustomed to the comfort of fear.


  11. Tuesday 12th January 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    TRADE unions founded the Labour Party, and the party is at its best when it acts as the political wing of the labour movement — a movement that, despite three decades of attack and repression by the British state, still comprises millions of working people and dwarfs the membership of any political party.

    The Morning Star has always supported a key role for trade unions in formulating and developing Labour policy.

    This newspaper has opposed every step that we believed might weaken or endanger the trade union link.

    That includes the Collins report and the resulting one-member one-vote system for choosing the party leader. At the time we did not expect it to produce a dramatic surge in Labour membership or the party’s most progressive leader since the first world war, any more than Collins’s Blairite backers did.

    But that’s what happened, and this newspaper has welcomed the broader political horizons opened up by Jeremy Corbyn’s new politics ever since.

    The greatest achievement of Corbyn’s leadership has been exactly that, the way an unrepresentative Establishment consensus on issues from public ownership (bad) to membership of the aggressive US-led Nato military alliance (good) can now be challenged. Corbyn’s Labour offers us choice and the ability to change our country’s political direction and the way we are governed: it represents a democratic revolution for Britain.

    So we welcome the long overdue debate on renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system. Britain’s deadly arsenal of nuclear warheads has been supported by both our biggest political parties for most of its existence, denying ordinary people a say.

    Some trade unionists are concerned that scrapping Trident would have a heavy cost in skilled British jobs.

    Trade unions exist to fight their members’ corner.

    This is why the GMB’s Paul Kenny is quite right to argue that the voices of workers whose livelihoods depend on Trident must be part of the debate on whether to renew it.

    And his warning that his union will not “go quietly into the night” if its members’ jobs are at risk is justified too.

    But it does not mean that we should support renewing Trident. Britain’s nuclear weapons are colossally expensive and represent a ludicrous financial commitment at a time of government cuts.

    More important still, they are morally impossible to justify — and they are dangerous. The use of even one would entail hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and catastrophic radiation poisoning that would last decades at least.

    Nuclear accidents could have unthinkable consequences and our hypocrisy in preaching disarmament while continuing to flaunt our nukes has encouraged their proliferation. North Korea is only the most recent unwelcome addition to the nuclear club, following India, Pakistan, Israel and others.

    Chemical and biological weaponry also requires skilled labour, but that is not enough to justify it. Rather we should object to the squandering of so much human ingenuity, talent and skilled work in the cause of developing ways of killing each other on an ever greater scale.

    Corbyn is not planning to abandon Britain’s nuclear workers in the callous way the Tories have thrown our steel and coal industries to the dogs.

    Instead, he drew up a defence diversification plan with assistance from late longstanding Morning Star columnist, CND campaigner and socialist Alan Mackinnon which would see workers redeployed to tackle the real problems Britain faces, whether working on the new technologies needed to cope with climate change, renovating our creaking water, energy and transport infrastructure or becoming part of the resurgent manufacturing sector only a Labour government can deliver.

    Working together, the new Labour leadership and Britain’s trade unions have a chance to forge an industrial strategy that will repair decades of damage and build an economy fit for the 21st century.


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  14. Wednesday 3rd February 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    As a mass rally draws nearer and the Labour Party looks to its defence plans, the drive to disarm from these increasingly obsolete weapons needs to ramp up fast, writes KATE HUDSON

    AS THE Stop Trident demonstration approaches — just four weeks to go — it’s been suggested the parliamentary vote on Trident replacement may come as early as March.

    Meanwhile, even more compelling arguments against replacement are rolling out. The latest are firmly technologically based — so the old insult that we are being “ideological” in our opposition to Trident can scarcely apply.

    A couple of months ago, former Labour defence secretary Des Browne pointed out that Trident could be rendered obsolete by cyber attack — and he cited a “cyber resilience” report from the US Department of Defence in evidence.

    Since then, some experts have observed that no system can be made totally immune to cyber attack. Scathing comments have also been made about the computer systems used on the Trident subs, dubbed “windows for submarines.” What, as Browne points out, would be the point of spending a lot of money on subs which didn’t work when you wanted them? Worse still, what if someone could hack and use them?

    Another technological challenge is the development of underwater drones. One of the big arguments in favour of submarines as a conveyance for nuclear weapons has been that they are undetectable under water. When the current system was being built in the 1980s and ’90s, no doubt that was the case.

    We know Trident was termed the “gold standard” of nuclear weapons systems. But in the 21st century how can anyone imagine that a massive metal submarine can remain undetected? Trident is a very 20th century piece of kit; technology has moved on and our politicians need to understand that and make choices accordingly.

    Talking of politicians, the much-anticipated Labour Defence Review has been launched. This is the process by which Labour will consider its defence policy — including Trident — and hopefully bring it into the modern age.

    New shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry has published her terms of reference for the review, inviting submissions from across society. Contributions are invited under four headings: Britain’s place in the world; the threats to Britain’s security; Britain’s military and security forces; and protecting British jobs and skills.

    Clearly the review should consider all aspects of Britain’s security, the threats that we face and appropriate means to respond. Serious work is already out there which sheds useful light on this area. The government’s National Security Strategy, published at the end of last year, actually identifies the most urgent threats — and they are recognisable to all of us: tier one threats include climate change, terrorism, pandemics, cyber attack and resource shortages.

    The document has nuclear weapons firmly down as a level two threat, but bizarrely that doesn’t prevent the government throwing ever-escalating amounts of cash at Trident.

    It is striking how many of these security threats are actually non-military, so Labour needs to conceptualise security in a new way and I hope the Britain’s place in the world section will deal with this adequately. In fact, overwhelmingly the security threats we face stem either from the problems arising from climate change or from 20th-century politics — imperialism and the cold war. We have to find collective ways, internationally, to resolve and move beyond these problems, or we’ll have no world left to fight over.

    So the review should be rooted firmly in addressing these challenges. And we all have the opportunity to contribute. Submissions are welcomed before April 30 2016, addressing a series of questions set out under each of the four headings. You can make your contribution via Labour’s Your Britain website at The document produced as a result will be fed into the international policy commission of Labour’s national policy forum, which will then report to Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool in September.

    At the end of the day, we need politicians from whichever party to understand that basing our national security on the game of bluff known as “deterrence” is absurd, and so too would be building enormous submarines that may fall prey both to cyber attack on their computer systems and physical attack via underwater drones. With all the expert evidence that suggests that both of these scenarios are possible it seems bizarre to hear the suggestion — as we have in the last few weeks — that we should build Trident replacement submarines but not arm them with nuclear weapons. Clearly this suggestion has been made to address concerns about jobs, but it is not the answer.

    If replacement subs are not being built at Barrow, Labour’s defence diversification policy must come into force and the shipyard can produce surface ships, conventional subs, or other engineering projects that would be useful to our society and help regenerate our industry and economy.

    It would be a good step forward to take the warheads off the existing subs as part of a de-escalation process, but to build redundant Trident replacement submarines would be pointless, a waste of money, of national resources and the skills of the Barrow workface. Labour needs to get its defence diversification agency up and running, with the workforce involved, and design a serious strategy to take British industry forward without weapons of mass destruction that can be enacted in government.

    This is the type of debate we need — looking at the issue from all angles. And now’s the time to have it.

    Giving voice to the popular opposition to Trident replacement is crucial as the parliamentary vote approaches.

    Please join us on the Stop Trident demonstration on Saturday February 27: assemble near Marble Arch at 12 noon before marching to Trafalgar Square for a rally. Full details, including coach travel, can be found on the CND website This is a once in a generation opportunity.

    If you live in London, please join us for the Stop Trident rally on Friday February 19 at 6.30pm in Friends House, Euston Road. Speakers include Bruce Kent, Tariq Ali, Lindsey German, Shelly Asquith, Brian Eno and Richard Norton Taylor. Check the CND website for details of other meetings around the country — and if yours isn’t on there yet, please send us the details.

    Kate Hudson is general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


    • Time for a realization we live on one planet as we are constantly at war? the model today is still based on Roman times? since then we discovered we live on a planet that is in space that is virtually infinite, hello out their , do you think you will travel in a space ship to greener pastures as our planet is destroyed along with us all? wakey, wakey, time to address and reconsider what war is? as we in the main remain in our sleep state and our inability to comprehend what war is to not only tax payers but the murder of millions? having been on this groove for some time the needle now stuck into its fate, those who rule us and we who collude with this elite have to wake up to the comforts of our existence such as comfortable cars and the comfort of our homes and the comfort of drugs, ocean pleasure cruises and endless diversions that as my daughter states only say nice things? hello Syria and the bomb sites around the world is no longer dream time but all of those who are still able to comprehend the difference between fantasy and reality?


  15. Wednesday 3rd January 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    by Lesley Docksey

    EVERYONE knows that Jeremy Corbyn wants rid of Trident; he’s been at the forefront of anti-nuclear campaigning for longer than many of our MPs have been alive. And we all, left and right, knew that Trident would become an issue when he became leader of the Labour Party.

    But why aren’t Labour and the CND using the good reasons available to make their case? Why stick with the cost of replacement, and what the money saved could be spent on?

    We have known for years that the military (excepting the Navy) thinks Trident is completely useless.

    We have known for years that the first of the new submarines, HMS Astute, was beset with problems and costing a fortune.

    We know it ran aground in familiar waters; that previous nuclear submarines had been involved in the sinking of fishing vessels; that a major nuclear incident involving the submarines at Devonport was only just averted in 2012.

    We knew that where two nuclear submarines out of four used to be at sea, it is now only one, and that the Navy is struggling to recruit enough submariners.

    This was highlighted again by the whistleblower William McNeilly last year. He cast doubts on whether the nuclear missiles could be launched at all, so broken is the whole system.

    For all the reasons above, Corbyn’s recent throwaway remark on the Andrew Marr show that “the submarines could go to sea without the missiles” should have been treated as just that. But no. The media went wild making fun of his “nuclear” policy.

    Yet there is one argument that could leave Trident dead in the water that Labour is not using. Nor is it mentioned by the media.

    An unprecedented series of intergovernmental and civil society conferences has laid the foundation for a political process that could finally ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.

    Norway hosted the first conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (HINW) in March 2013 in Oslo.

    A follow-up conference was held in Mexico in February 2014. There was an all-important conference, held in Vienna in December 2014, out of which came the humanitarian pledge.

    In May 2015 the latest review conference on nuclear non-proliferation (RevCon) took place. It was a failure. At the same conference nations were signing up to the humanitarian pledge, despite cries of horror and backroom bullying by nuclear states.

    By the start of the 2015 RevCon 159 non-nuclear states had signed up to the pledge and the endorsing states numbered 76. 121 nations have now fully endorsed it.

    Last December the UN general assembly voted to set up a new UN working group which will start the process of writing a Treaty making all nuclear weapons illegal. They start work in February. Chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions are all banned. Nuclear weapons are next.

    Civil society representatives will be assisting the working group. Has Labour thought of sending someone along?

    And why aren’t Corbyn and his team flagging this up as a major argument against replacing Trident? After all, why replace something that in a year or three will be completely and utterly illegal?


  16. Wednesday 10th February 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    LABOUR’S parliamentary internal opposition is boringly predictable in the antics it deploys to undermine the party’s new leadership.

    Its members attend a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, at which they howl and cat-call a front-bench speaker and from which they text and tweet what a total twerp the shadow minister is.

    Then they sit back and await phone calls from their media friends so they can indulge themselves in derogatory comments about policies and/or individuals while accusing the leadership of being divisive.

    Shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry is the latest beneficiary of this treatment as she gave an update on her thinking about Britain’s supposed nuclear deterrent.

    Such was the hubbub that PLP chairman John Cryer felt compelled to interrupt the meeting to calm matters.

    Had any other female Labour MP been subjected to attempts to shout her down during a speech, the electronic social media would have been full of accusations of sexism carried out by lefty bully-boys.

    Thornberry’s misfortune is to be a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, so New Labour’s faux-feminists aren’t concerned.

    “Waffly and incoherent” was the verdict of Kevan Jones, who stepped down as Corbyn’s shadow armed forces minister after accusing the party leader of “incompetence.”

    If Thornberry needed lessons in oratory, she would do well to body-swerve someone who answered a half-dozen successive questions on Channel 4 News with the same “The fact of the matter is …” opening gambit.

    Madeleine Moon tweeted: “Oh dear oh dear omg oh dear oh dear need to go rest in a darkened room” as her sisterly response to Thornberry’s PLP comments.

    References to the shadow minister “living in la-la land” or having delivered the “worst ever presentation” were obviously calculated to deepen inner-party solidarity and massively improve Labour’s chances in May’s Welsh and Scottish government, London mayoral and English local authority elections.

    Pride of place goes to Lord West who just happened to phone the BBC Today programme yesterday morning as Thornberry was being interviewed to voice his belief that she was talking “nonsense.”

    The noble lord felt constrained to point out once again that a non-nuclear Labour defence strategy would precipitate his resignation from the party.

    For goodness sake, he hasn’t made that threat for nearly a month since he promised: “I would give up the Labour whip if that happened.”

    Given the huge boost that his pronouncements provide to Labour’s opponents, perhaps he should save his breath and transfer his unelected self-importance to a party for which he feels more warmth.

    Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham’s statement that splits are so deep in Labour that it will be impossible for the party to reach a common position is true if by “common” he means a fusion of nuclear and non-nuclear defence strategies.

    However, his implied suggestion that — once party policy has been decided — if the majority backs a non-nuclear stance it should not be binding on pro-nukes shadow ministers is utterly unacceptable.

    Just as anti-nuclear ministers under Tony Blair had a choice of silence or shipping out, that has to be the only workable position now.

    It cannot be restated too often that Corbyn was elected with 59.5 per cent of the vote and made non-nuclear defence strategy a central plank in his campaign.

    This is at variance with the supreme wisdom of New Labour elite whose policies brought the party to defeat in two successive general elections.

    To imagine that the heirs and successors of these disasters could retain either a veto or an opt-out from the membership’s decision is farcical.

    Trident has been a useless white elephant designed to evoke imperial nostalgia of Britain being master of the waves. It’s time to move on.


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