As Britain faces the deepest public spending cuts in living memory, the country can ill-afford to be spending in excess of £100bn on replacing Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Britain’s security needs are not met by nuclear weapons which can do nothing to combat the threats posed by terrorism, climate change or cyber warfare. If countries like Britain justify their retention and replacement of nuclear weapons on the grounds of an uncertain future, it increases the likelihood that non-nuclear states will seek to use the same rationale to justify developing their own weapons systems.
Instead of wasting over one hundred billion pounds on new nuclear weapons, there are many forms of socially useful spending to which the funds could be put: combating child poverty and youth unemployment; providing affordable homes; investing in education and the NHS, as well as putting serious resources into renewable energy, to name just a few. It is clear that it is Trident replacement which should be cut – not these vital areas.
We believe the Government should cancel the replacement of Trident. This would allow for the existing skilled manufacturing base to be re-orientated towards providing for the needs of a post-carbon future, with the potential for significant investment in green jobs.
The Government must be a leading participant in current global initiatives to significantly reduce holdings of nuclear weapons, with the aim of achieving a nuclear-free world.
Cancelling the programme to replace Trident would have a transformative effect on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty process, greatly boosting the chances of agreeing a timetable for multilateral global disarmament.
Our security does not exist in a vacuum: we must work for genuine global security which can only be achieved through the abolition of nuclear weapons. Cancelling plans to replace Trident would be a momentous step in this direction, for Britain and the world.