What You Need To Know About Trident

IN THE TV LEADERS’ DEBATE, last night on ITV, Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, suggested that the cost of replacing Britain’s nuclear deterrent would run into ‘100 billion pounds.’

Not true.

The government has put the bill at £15bn to £20bn; but campaign group Greenpeace claims it will run to at least £34bn once extra costs like VAT are factored in.

Nick Clegg’s figure seems to be some kind of ‘totalling’ of Trident’s replacement costs and other expenditure expected to be incurred, directly and indirectly, throughout the system’s lifetime.

Scrapping Trident would not produce an immediate saving of £100 billion that could be used to pay-off the nation’s debt – particularly since scrapping the deal, at this late stage, would involve considerable cancellation costs.

Moreover, the system’s cancellation would inevitably require some other form of military defence to replace it.

Whatever your view on nuclear weapons, doing away with this country’s only deterrent is no panacea for the huge black hole in its public finances – and such a decision would, in any case, cost some 15,000 British jobs.

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