Nuclear defence contracts on horizon Huppert told

November 9, 2010 12:25 PM

Julian at desk in WestminsterDefence Secretary Liam Fox has announced that the government will be placing design contracts for an update of the Trident nuclear defence programme after he was questioned by Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert.

Julian had sought assurances from Mr Fox that no binding contracts would be entered into so that the next Parliament could abandon the programme if it decided it was no longer needed or wanted.

But Mr Fox said that it was unavoidable that when they got to 'initial gate' - the start of the design phase - contracts on the design would be placed.

"The Government's position is quite clear: we will replace the nuclear deterrent and we will replace it with an update of the Trident programme," he said.

Julian raised the issue in the House of Commons yesterday (Monday, November 8) and asked what a replacement for Trident would cost.

He was told that on 2006/07 prices the cost would be between £15 billion and £20 billion but Parliament would be updated on progress, including costs, in a report after the initial gate decision.

Later Julian said: "The taxpayers of this country face a massive bill for a nuclear deterrent which is no longer relevant to the threats we are facing today and therefore no longer needed.

"It is possible that the next Parliament will take a more common sense view of this issue and abandon the project. But taxpayers could be left with a huge bill for commitments made during the current Parliament; that is not acceptable.

"We should be looking at how that money can be better spent on securing services and jobs which will have an impact on every family in this country."

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