Sources: here and here
Dear Mr Bond,
Thank you for your email about nuclear weapons and Trident. I hope you managed to listen to the statement and following debate which took place yesterday on this subject.
I have always been supportive of the argument that the UK should maintain an operationally independent strategic nuclear deterrent that is effective and credible. Whilst I am open minded about how that deterrent may be maintained in the future, my understanding is that the cheapest way of maintaining an effective strategic deterrent is the modernisation of the present Trident system.
Whether the estimated cost of £15 billion to £20 billion is scored within the defence budget or out of it, given the period of service involved, modernisation of the nuclear deterrent is something that a country, with a GDP this year of more than of £1400 billion where public spending will amount to £697 billion, should be able to afford.
In the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Government announced that we ‘will maintain a continous submarine-based deterrent and begin the work of replacing existing submarines.’ I continue to back this position.
Around 25,000 local people in Plymouth depend on the Defence industry for their livelihood including the nuclear sector. As a naval base Plymouth obtained a nuclear license in the 1990s and this continues to be a contributor to employment which is vitally important in these difficult economic times. The license is also a stake in the ground for keeping our Dockyard which is fundamental to the city and its people.
I hope that this information is helpful and thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Oliver Colvile MP
Plymouth Sutton & Devonport