UK NUCLEAR DETERRENT “NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE”
Defence funding shortfalls and maintenance delays mean that the UK’s nuclear deterrent is “not fit for purpose” according to Westminster’s funding watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee.
MPs have also warned that the Trident system is also at risk from Brexit uncertainty, with the UK facing potential shortages of vital parts from Europe and European engineers when it leaves the European Union.
The Committee warned that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) faces "significant pressures" over the next decade to provide the network of programmes, equipment and people, known as the ‘Nuclear Enterprise’ necessary to provide nuclear deterrent continuously at sea.
The Public Accounts Committee has urged the Tory UK Government to fill a £2,900 million funding shortfall and address the looming skills gap if it is to maintain the Trident system at its current operational levels.
Patricia Gibson MP commented:
“Even before we consider the eye-watering cost of replacing Trident, the MoD must now find nearly £3 billion, to fill critical skill gaps and ensure its supply chain is maintained effectively. All at a time of great uncertainty in international politics and the global economy.
"The infrastructure available to support the ‘Nuclear Enterprise’ is clearly not fit for purpose. The UK has 20 submarines awaiting disposal, nine of which contain fuel. The MoD admits that while it has previously put off dismantling submarines on grounds of cost, this is no longer acceptable on grounds of safety and reputation. The MoD needs to address this quickly.
“In May the Public Accounts Committee highlighted concerns that the MoD could find itself more than £20 billion short of the funding required to buy all the equipment it says it needs.
“It is now obvious that the existing Trident system, let alone a replacement, is not only immoral and unusable, it is unaffordable and having a dramatic impact on funding the navy, air force and army.
“If the UK is to have the conventional forces it needs, Trident must be scrapped and its replacement cancelled.”