UK Government fast-tracks Trident renewal with £1bn payment

HMS Vigilant, one of the UK's four nuclear warhead-carrying submarines, at Faslane. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
HMS Vigilant, one of the UK's four nuclear warhead-carrying submarines, at Faslane. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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The UK government is forging ahead with the construction of the new generation of Clyde-based Trident submarines with a £1 billion payment allowing manufacturing to begin by the end of the year, it has emerged.

It contrasts with delays to the Type 26 frigates being built on the Clyde which has prompted SNP claims of “broken promises”.

Public protests against the renewal of Trident have stepped up in recent months. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Public protests against the renewal of Trident have stepped up in recent months. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Scottish Government veterans minister Keith brown hit out at the news and branded the £41bn UK nuclear deterrent a “white elephant” project.

The Ministry of Defence says it is to announce “key milestones” in the renewal of Trident. But ministers are reportedly ready to release £1 bn, possibly as early as next month, to allow BAE systems and Rolls-Royce to begin manufacture of the first of the four submarines that will carry the UK’s renewed nuclear deterrent.

It marks the first payment since MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of renewing Trident last month, despite opposition from the SNP and Scottish Government.

A spokesman for Mr Brown said: “From the moment they took office, the Tories have slashed spending on public services and instigated the most brutal welfare cuts in living memory – all because they claim there is no money.

• READ MORE: In numbers: Trident renewal could reach ‘£167 billion’

“Yet whenever money is needed for their nuclear weapons obsession, they always seem to be able to write cheques for ten-figure sums at the drop of a hat.”

GMB Scotland organiser Gary Cook said; “The government must now follow through with urgency on the promised frigate programme for the Upper Clyde and any diversionary politics trying to play one set of workers against the other is to the detriment of Scottish jobs, skills and prosperity because the sector is so interdependent.”

The Ministry of Defence said it continued to “deliver the successor submarine programme milestones”. A spokeswoman added: “We will announce key programme milestones in due course.”

Last Month, Nationalist politicians and shipbuilding unions reacted furiously after the Ministry of Defence admitted there is no start date for the new Type 26 frigate fleet to be built on the Clyde.

The prospect of the Type 26s being built on the Clyde had been widely held up by pro-union politicians as a reason to vote Yes during the independence referendum two years ago.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the admission was a “disgraceful betrayal” of shipyard workers after it was made at a meeting of the Commons’ defence committee.

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