Kate Hudson general secretary of CND demonstrates how Trident replacement will destroy thousands of jobs and destroy key skills and industry.
Trident is a dead-end option – a weapon of mass destruction that is eating up money and jobs and it has to be recognised as such.
New research from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament explodes the myth that replacing Trident will create more jobs for defence workers. On the contrary, it shows that pushing ahead with Trident replacement will destroy thousands of jobs across Britain. This is not just because spending on Trident comes at the expense of other public spending like health, education and basic community services. It is because the money for Trident will come primarily at the expense of other conventional defence projects and the jobs that support them.
One of the most interesting parts of the report is the section on marine energy. In 2009 the TUC called for a Just Transition to a low carbon green economy, rich in jobs, high in research and development and generating exports. Marine energy has this potential and UK companies are at the leading edge of this technology. Barrow – where Trident subs are built – could become a major centre for the design and manufacture of wave and tidal turbines. If we invest the money saved by cancelling Trident, we can make the UK a world leader in wave and tidal power technology and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in Britain, more than compensating for the jobs lost by cancelling Trident replacement.
In the past some trade unionists have argued that replacing Trident was essential to maintain high value defence jobs. This report shows the opposite. Scrapping Trident is a key part of the fight for jobs.
The CND briefing entitled Trident, Jobs and the UK Economy will be launched at a TUC fringe meeting on Tuesday 14th September at 5.30pm in the Midland Hotel, Manchester. For a copy visit CND’s website at www.cnduk.org or phone 0207 700 2393. A longer fully referenced report is also available.
Trident & Jobs
The Renewal of Trident will be decided by the end of the year as part of ConDem governments Strategic Defence and Security Review.
• Trident replacement, and particularly its dependence on US-contractors to provide both the missiles and the missile launch technology on US-based contractors, will mean that it will cost more jobs, either in defence or the public sector, than it will generate.
• US Congress hearings have established that the cost of the US replacement submarine and missile system is likely to be double the estimates made in 2006.
• The originally estimated £20-30 billion cost of replacement, in the context of the existing crisis of the defence budget, will mean that a number of defence programmes scheduled for British industry over the coming decade will either be cancelled or significantly reduced.
• The most vulnerable programmes, both from the impact of Trident costs and the overall budget reduction, are in the areas of surface ships, jet fighters, helicopters and armoured vehicles as well as the servicing of airbases and dockyards. The cancellation of such programmes will cost more than 10,000 jobs and is likely to result in the closure of major workplaces.
CND’s report recommends that:
• In line with the TUC’s 2009 support for Just Transition towards a fuel-efficient, green economy, government-funded programmes should be adopted now, as operated in the United States under the Base Realignment and Closure programme, which would ensure alternative industrial employment in communities most affected, particularly in Barrow-in-Furness. The report highlights the scientific, design and technical skills concentrated in Barrow and the potential, identified by International Energy Agency, for the development of new technological niches in the efficient production of marine and sub-sea energy over the next decade and a half.