16 July 2013
Trident Alternatives Review: A Missed Opportunity
The United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church and Baptist Union of Great Britain today welcomed the acknowledgement in the Trident Alternatives Review that it would be feasible for the UK to end Continuous at Sea Deterrence. However the Churches believe that an opportunity has been missed to examine the case for a WMD-free Britain, arguing that Trident is unnecessary for our defence and unaffordable in the current climate.
Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Joint Public Issues Team said: "The idea that you need to have a submarine at sea continuously, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, simply doesn't make sense. It is a waste of precious resource and money.
"But beyond that the UK is rightly insisting that non-nuclear weapons states restrain themselves from developing nuclear weapons technology. Our position only has credibility if our own nuclear policy recognises the reduced role for nuclear weapons in security policies today."
Although internationally there is much debate around the path to zero nuclear weapons and the role that nuclear weapons states can play, the Trident Alternatives Review has not considered these crucial strategic questions.
Recognising that the nature of the threats to our security have changed since the introduction of Trident, Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church said: "Trident is a hangover from the Cold War era. Priorities today have changed. Spending such vast sums of money on a weapons system that could never be used takes money away from more productive areas.
"We are encouraged by a growing global acceptance that the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable in any circumstance. People of all faiths deplore the notion that our security must be built on the threat of widespread destruction of human life."
The Churches have argued that dispensing with Trident altogether could have positive spin-offs for public services and employment opportunities as well as national security. A resource titled Better Off Without Trident illustrates the vast cost of the Trident programme in comparison with other areas of Government expenditure.