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Trident Renewal

Part of Opposition Day — [13th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:37 pm on 20th January 2015.

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Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey Liberal Democrat, North Devon 2:37 pm, 20th January 2015

I am going to make some progress and I will take another intervention in a little while.

Our defences have seen round after round of cuts as the financial situation has deteriorated, and later this year we face the gloomy prospect of the whole thing happening all over again. Whatever the outcome of the election, there will be a strategic defence and security review this summer and a comprehensive spending review this autumn.

The Secretary of State dismissed the cost figures offered by Angus Robertson, who opened the debate for the SNP, but I readily recognise those figures. It is a fact that if we go ahead and build four submarines, they will cost us between £25 billion and £30 billion. It is a fact that running the nuclear deterrent currently costs us £2.9 billion a year, and if we do that for another 30 or 40 years the cost will multiply. Whatever the outcome, at some point we will have to decommission it all at the end, so I would have thought that £100 billion is the very least it would cost. I would take a private guess that the quantum would in fact be well in excess of that figure, but I certainly recognise it as a starting point.