Nicola Sturgeon has told nuclear defence workers that the SNP’s policy of ending Trident will be matched by a commitment to provide new jobs.
The First Minister also met Unite boss Len McCluskey for the first time and gave him an assurance that the SNP supports the union’s call for a diversification strategy to accompany any measure to scrap nuclear weapons.
Mr McCluskey had warned that simply scrapping Trident could “devastate” communities such as Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, where the submarines are built. Ms Sturgeon spoke at Unite’s first ever Scottish policy conference in Clydebank, just 20 miles from the nuclear submarine base at Faslane.
She told members that the SNP “will continue to argue against the renewal of Trident”.
She added: “My position on Trident is long held. It’s not something I do for party political advantage, I have believed in the anti-nuclear case all of my life.
“But I also know that for some people the nuclear base at Faslane is where you work and that for Unite the abolition of Trident must be matched by a programme of diversification and alternative employment.
“That is the position that the Scottish Parliament supported in November and that is the position that we will advocate.
“Renewing Trident, according to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, at current estimates is going to cost £167 billion over its lifetime.
“I think that is too high a cost to pay at a time of deep cutbacks elsewhere.
“It should be spent on genuine alternatives: health, education and conventional defence equipment and personnel.”