Social cost of Labour's nuclear obsession revealed
Ahead of Westminster's Defence Committee taking evidence on an independent Scotland on Tuesday, the SNP has challenged Johann Lamont to say why it is better together with a UK Government wasting millions of pounds on Trident, as figures reveal £2.54 billion was spent on the running costs of the nuclear warheads in Labour’s last three years of office.
Ministry of Defence figures revealed in response to a parliamentary question show the real and projected costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), which builds and maintains the warheads for the Trident system, between 2007 and 2018. The figures show:-
· Scotland’s share of the money spent on Trident’s replacement in the last three years of the Labour government was £2.564 billion. Scotland’s share of this, £215 million, could have funded:- up to 430 doctors (at £500,000 per doctor); up to 5,119 nurses (at £42,000 per nurse); up to 5,972 teachers (at £36,000 for Initial Teacher Education); up to 27 single stream Primary Schools (at £8,000,000 per school); up to 11 Secondary Schools (at £20,000,000 per school); up to 11 Community Hospitals (at £20,000,000 per hospital).
· Over the next 6 years Scottish taxpayers will spend an average £83m a year to make nuclear warheads that can never be used. That money would pay for an additional 1500 service personnel - at a time when military personnel based in Scotland is at its lowest level in memory.
· The total cost between 2007-18, or ten years, is £10.4 billion. Scotland’s share is £877 million. £10.4 billion equals four aircraft carriers. Or at the projected rate of building, one Type 26 built on the clyde every year, enough to keep them busy for 26 years at today's prices.
SNP Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:
“Today we see the social cost of the UK Government’s nuclear obsession. Labour and the Tories proceed with their warped priority of investing in weapons of mass destruction before better local services.
“The millions blown every year on nuclear warheads is unjust, immoral and a democratic affront to the people of Scotland.
"Church leaders, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament are all against weapons of mass destruction being in our waters.
"Johann Lamont must end her silence on Trident and explain where she stands on this obscene waste of money.
"Son of Trident is the wrong choice for Scotland's future - it is a terrible way to spend precious resources – and yet the UK Government has already committed over a billion paving the way for its replacement before a decision on renewal has been agreed.
“What this country needs is a government that will make decisions based on what the people living here actually want and only an independent Scotland can deliver this."