Nicola Sturgeon promises alternative jobs for nuclear workers

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.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking at the Unite Scotland policy conference. Picture: PA

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.

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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.”