Trident and its successor programme: the case for non-renewal, employment diversification and contribution to peace

Mike Danson, Karen Gilmore, Geoffrey Whittam

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    o There are moral, philosophical, religious, democratic and legal reasons to oppose Trident renewal.
    o Public and political opinion in Scotland has consistently opposed Trident and its renewal. So there is a
    live issue of the democratic will here.
    o The International Court of Justice has ruled against the use and ownership of nuclear weapons, saying
    ‘the existence of nuclear weapons as a class of weapons threatens the whole of civilization’.
    o Nuclear weapons are ‘inherently indiscriminate’ and the prospect of catastrophic loss of life, military
    and non-military, can never satisfy the just war principles of discrimination and proportionality.
    o Britain is not a nuclear superpower but stands against the 139 nations pledged to enter into negotiations
    to ban nuclear weapons under international law. This majority is also the moral majority.
    o Only 600 civilian jobs are dependent on the existing Trident system at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB)
    Clyde (Faslane and Coulport): 520 on missiles and the equivalent of 80 on maintenance. The other
    3,721 jobs at HMNB Clyde work on other submarines and surface ships and are not at risk.
    o The Trident Successor programme will not lead to any new jobs but merely maintain 11,520 across the
    UK at a cost of £205bn to the UK taxpayer or almost £18m per job. The massive devaluation of Sterling
    since June 2016 substantiates the £205bn estimate and suggests this could increase further as a large
    proportion of Trident expenditure goes to foreign companies.
    o Employment has been falling at HMNB and generally in defence in Scotland due to cuts to fund Trident
    and the Successor programme. The facts are that expenditure on Trident and the Successor Programme
    are costing defence jobs throughout Britain.
    o The very high cost per Trident job is wasteful of skill and other resources; offers little to the Scottish
    and UK economies in the way of economic activity and multiplier effects; and threatens to lead to
    ever-increasing costs of procurement. Engineering skills are needed elsewhere in the economy, and
    diversion of these to Trident is socially unacceptable.
    o Trident and Successor does not represent investment into manufacturing but provides benefits to
    banks, multinational enterprises and arms suppliers.
    o Austerity cuts have led to over 30,000 job losses in local government in Scotland with more forecast,
    damaging the delivery of vital public services. The transfer of a modest amount of Trident monies
    would easily reverse these cuts.
    o There is no military necessity for renewal of Trident say former senior members of the Armed Forces,
    with resources consequently being diverted from essential defence needs.
    o Decades of poor defence procurement management, inflation and devaluation mean CND’s £205bn
    estimate is highly plausible.
    o Renewal benefits arms manufacturers, banks and foreign multinational companies. The losers are
    defence workers and taxpayers as skilled workers suffer lay-offs from non-Trident work or are encouraged
    to commute across the country to find temporary work.
    The report also examined the impact of non-renewal in economic, social and military terms. It found that:
    o Continuing decline in the armed forces and defence expenditure has already resulted in many job losses
    on the Clyde and other defence centres.
    o Trident and the Successor programme increasingly dominate the defence budget leading to cuts in
    jobs and equipment elsewhere. There are major employment consequences for Clyde shipbuilding in
    a decreasing defence budget if Trident is not cancelled with, for example, fewer orders of new Type-26
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationGlasgow
    PublisherThe Reid Foundation
    Commissioning bodyJimmy Reid Foundation
    Number of pages20
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


    • Trident
    • opposition
    • politics
    • Scotland
    • nuclear weapons


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