Thursday, 6 August 2009



Reports that Downing Street has suppressed a report revealing the MoD is wasting billions of pounds every year as a result of ordering projects it cannot afford has sparked renewed calls for the prime minister to rule-out looming commitments on the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Gordon Brown is set to sign-off £2bn in design work for the weapons system in September – just as pressure is piling on the prime minister to answer questions about how his government is dealing with the campaign in Afghanistan after a series of media reports highlighted serious concerns about equipment.

The SNP have argued that Trident renewal must not be excluded from the Strategic Defence Review and further spending on the project should be ruled out pending the planned assessment of defence needs and the 30-nation nuclear non-proliferation summit scheduled in Washington next March.

SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:

“For Downing Street to suppress a report on defence spending at a time when the government faces fundamental questions about whether our forces in Afghanistan are getting the equipment they need is absolutely unacceptable.

“Gordon Brown cannot dodge the serious questions that are mounting about equipment in Afghanistan . He is already exposed for saying there were enough helicopters only to have Bob Ainsworth contradict that claim by saying he was 'busting a gut' to get more helicopters into theatre.

“Speculation that the UK government is wasting billions of pounds on projects it cannot afford totally reignites the debate on Trident renewal. In just a few weeks Gordon Brown is set to sign-off £2bn worth of design work on these weapons of mass destruction.

“People struggle to understand, at a time when budgets are tight across the armed forces and Scotland faces a £500 million budget cut from London , why the UK Government is ploughing billions of pounds into a new generation of unwanted and unnecessary nuclear weapons.

“Any way you look at it - on moral, economic or political grounds - renewal of this nuclear system is untenable.”

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