Ignore pro-nuclear spin: CND says scrapping Trident won’t destroy tens of thousands of jobs

HMS Vengeance, a British Royal Navy Vanguard class Trident Ballistic Missile Submarine © David Moir
Any threat to jobs resulting from a decision to scrap Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system must be seen in its actual context and not through the prism of pro-nuclear spin, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) claims in a new report.

Released on Thursday, “Trident and jobs: The employment implications of cancelling Trident replacement” picks apart the myth that scrapping the nuclear weapons would wipe out tens of thousands of jobs.

The government claims that “the current system and its replacement provide civilian jobs, some of them highly-skilled and well paid, many in deprived areas where alternative employment of the same quality is scarce,” said CND.

While this is true, the extent of this job creation is tiny relative to the sums involved.

CND argues that the current figure of around 30,000 usually given for the number of jobs dependent on the current and proposed deterrents is overestimated, and that armed forces personnel and others must be subtracted from that sum in order to reach a true figure.

Those workers, the group says, would be reallocated to other parts of the military or set to work decommissioning the subs if the program was scrapped.

CND say the actual figure is closer to 11,000 and that Trident itself cannot justify the money required to continue funding it given that it is not self-sustaining, incredibly costly, and effectively useless.

Instead, they argue that “a host of industries are in need of investment, from wind and wave power, to nuclear decommissioning, to aerospace technology to marine industries and others.

British industry as a whole “faces chronic skills shortages which public sector-led investment can address,” the group adds.

The money saved by not replacing Trident would provide the finances for this program. This would amount to an industrial strategy for Britain with the existing workforce and regions at its core.

At a cost of £205 billion, CND posit that replacing Trident cannot be justified on its own terms, and other uses for the money and the workers must be found.