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Defence diversification Scrapping Trident nuclear weapons ‘could create thousands of engineering jobs’

A PIONEERING new report argues that thousands more engineering jobs could be created by stopping the renewal of the Trident missiles system.

The report, Defence Diversification: International Learning for Trident Jobs, was published today by the Nuclear Education Trust. It examines various government and Civil Service initiatives in Britain, western Europe and the United States.

It argues that an internationally led programme to diversify the work of Trident’s workers would cost far less than it would to renew the cold-war-era nuclear weapons system — estimated to be between £180 billion and £205bn over the next several decades.

The authors claim that further jobs — particularly in the skilled engineering sector — may be created from ditching Trident and point to the decline in British arms industry employment, in which 263,000 jobs have vanished since 1980.

CND general secretary Kate Hudson said that the report demonstrates from real-world examples how the scrapping of unpopular projects such as Trident doesn’t have to mean the loss of high-skill employment.

“Far from it, in fact — if there is the political will to fully engage with defence diversification, far more high-skilled jobs can be created in the engineering sector,” she said.

Shadow minister for peace & disarmament Fabian Hamilton commented that while it is not Labour’s policy to get rid of Trident, “a defence diversification strategy would go hand in hand with Labour’s plan to invest in our economy.

“We do not lack the talent, we simply lack the funding.

“There is no denying that Trident is a major employer in some parts of the country, so proper funding must be made available so those in high-skilled work stay in high-skilled work.

“High-skilled jobs are good for our economy and, if we decide to transition away from Trident, defence diversification is the only way to ensure that the vital skills used in the development of Britain’s nuclear weapons are not lost.”

The study argues that workers and local communities must be lead decision makers in diversification decisions related to nuclear weapons and that serious government intervention at every level must be taken in their support.

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