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Stop Trident Renewal!

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On Thursday 24 November 2016, the Jimmy Reid Foundation launched a major new research paper examining the economic, political and social costs of renewing the Trident nuclear missile system for Scotland.

In ‘Trident and its Successor Programme – the case for non-renewal, employment diversification and contributing to peace’, Professor Mike Danson, Karen Gilmore and Dr Geoff Whittam make three sets of arguments against Trident’s renewal. These concern i) the moral and philosophical case against renewal; ii) the economic case for non-renewal; and iii) the defence case for non-renewal.

The report also examines the impact of non-renewal in economic, social and military terms, specifically looking at the impact of job loss as a result of non-renewal and assesses the case for diversification in terms of skill redeployment and benefits.

The report will be launched in the Scottish Parliament at 1pm by Professor Danson with contributions from Green, Labour and SNP MSPs (Alison Johnstone, Elaine Smith and Bill Kidd respectively). 

Amongst the report’s major findings are:  

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Employment has been falling at HMNB and generally in defence in Scotland due to cuts to fund Trident and the Successor programme. Expenditure on Trident and the Successor Programme are costing defence jobs throughout Britain.
    • 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.
    • Trident and Successor does not represent investment into manufacturing but provides benefits to banks, multinational enterprises and arms suppliers.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Continuing decline in the armed forces and defence expenditure has already resulted in many job losses on the Clyde and other defence centres.
    • 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 frigates.
    • The Successor programme means importing technologies and weapons, not producing and servicing them domestically, so that multiplier effects are reduced and so fewer jobs, supplies and incomes are retained within Scotland and the UK
    • Scotland is not threatened with a loss of ‘vital jobs, skills and the high value terms’ if Successor was abandoned. Scotland has been and will continue to face skill shortages in sectors where growth and development would be enhanced by recruitment of workers on Trident-related and Successor programmes.  
    • The Scottish Government should establish a ‘Scottish Defence Diversification Agency’, as proposed by the STUC, whose main focus will be planning and resourcing the diversification of jobs away from defence projects, such as Trident, and promoting the greening of the Scottish economy.

Professor Mike Danson, the lead author, commented:

‘Our report demonstrates that far, far more is to be lost than gained by renewing Trident. Trident does not save jobs but costs jobs. Trident does not enhance our skills base but degrades it. Trident does not bring economic benefits to the local area but leaks them away from it. All in all, renewing Trident makes neither economic nor social sense. It also an affront to democracy and humanity, and makes the world no more safe than it currently is.’

Professor Gregor Gall, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation, commented: ‘We very much welcome this robust and rigorously researched report. Without a doubt, it makes the case that renewing Trident is not in the interests of the citizens of Scotland. We look forward to politicians and political parties taking up its findings and promoting them in order to do all that can be done to stop the renewal of Trident.’

The report is now available to download Trident Report 24th Nov