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New nuclear subs 'break Non-Proliferation Treaty'

A GOVERNMENT decision to spend £2.5 billion on nuclear-armed submarines was slammed today by local authorities committed against nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

Defence Minister Gavin Williamson announced at the BAE dockyard in Barrow that he has signed a £1.5bn contract to build a seventh Astute “hunter-killer” submarine for the Royal Navy.

And £960 million worth of contracts have also been signed for the construction for Britain’s four nuclear-armed Trident Dreadnought submarines.

The Manchester-based Nuclear-Free Local Authorities group (NFLA) condemned the spending as being “against the ‘good faith’ commitments for nuclear disarmament enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

NFLA vice-chair Cllr David Blackburn said: “We all know politicians like good photo opportunities and the new Defence Minister will want to show the workforce in Barrow and other defence nuclear facilities that they will benefit from the huge resources being planned to build new Trident submarines.

“Yet the findings from the National Audit Office could not be starker in saying that the Ministry of Defence is not in full control of its budget and huge cost overruns are a distinct possibility.

“With many other critical local services under real threat, the government should not be making such promises until it has got the defence budget fully under control.

“Trident is not the answer to our defence responsibilities or the threats to this country. It is time for a more enlightened defence policy and the creation of a defence diversification agency to assist and provide advice on the way forward.”

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