The BASIC Trident Commission publishes its second discussion paper Wednesday 21 March on the defence industrial aspects of the forthcoming decision on Trident renewal, and in particular the construction of the next generation of SSBN nuclear submarines.
Issues around jobs, the maintenance of skills and technology and the regional economic concerns that will inevitably have a political impact on the decisions and on particular MPs, even if they are not the prime purpose of the system. The report, analysing the impacts arising from possible options, is authored by Professor Keith Hartley, with a long and distinguished career at the forefront of external defence industrial analysis in the UK.
Prof Hartley concludes that if a future government decided to cancel the programme we would be looking at jobs losses of around 9,200 jobs mainly after 2025 followed by the loss of a further 21,700 jobs after 2052: amounting to a total of almost 31,000 jobs being lost. The time available for adjustment is apparent largely because there are substantial submarine contracts in play today, with the construction of the Astute class attack submarines, allowing time for future government intervention in particularly-exposed local economies. It should be remembered that submarine manufacture is particularly capital-intensive, so that more alternative jobs could be created with the same investment.
He also concludes that cancellation of the Trident renewal programme could produce substantial cost savings of up to £83.5 billion over the period 2016 to 2062, equivalent to an annual average saving of £1.86 billion.
The independent, cross-party BASIC Trident commission is examining the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons policy and the issue of Trident renewal. It is operating under the chairmanship of:
• Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne), former Labour Secretary of State for Defence;
• Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Conservative Defence and Foreign Secretary; and
• Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and Shadow Foreign Secretary.
As well as examining the issues surrounding Britain’s future nuclear weapons policy with officials and experts, taking written and oral evidence, the Commission is also looking to engage the wider informed community in receiving views on the desired future direction of UK nuclear policy and is hosting several panel discussions on the key issues