By a Newsnet reporter
Scotland’s taxpayers are being forced waste £170 million every year on Trident weapons of mass destruction, new figures have revealed.
A parliamentary answer has highlighted the fact that (based on 2011-12 UK defence spending figures) that in-service costs for Trident are around 5 to 6% of the total defence budget.
These figures are set to rocket as Trident replacement programme is imposed by Westminster. The cost of Trident replacement is estimated by the UK government at between £11 billion and £14 billion. The figures do not take into account the running costs of the Trident replacement, and make the unrealistic assumption that the project will avoid the massive cost overruns which have marked all other major MoD projects in recent years.
Alternatively spent, £170 million could train over 4,700 teachers, build between 13-21 state of the art primary schools, or build 9 community hospitals - every year.
Recent opinion polls show that Scots are deeply opposed to Trident irrespective whether they intend to vote Yes or No in next year's referendum. According to a TNS BMRB poll carried out for the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament published in March, 75% of those who plan to vote No are opposed to the renewal of Trident and its siting in Scotland, a figure which rises to 87% amongst those who plan to vote in favour of Scottish independence.
Bill Kidd MSP, who asked the parliamentary question and is a Co-President of the international organisation Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, said:
"What a horrendous waste of money that could be used on health and education improvements – services that Scotland needs and values instead of these despicable weapons.
"The groundswell of opposition against Trident among the people of Scotland demonstrates that the overwhelming moral and economic case for ridding Scotland of nuclear weapons.
"In recent months we've seen the most brutal welfare cuts imposed on Scotland, by a Tory government that we didn't vote for. It’s not just the Bedroom Tax – the most ill thought-out policy since the poll tax – it’s cuts to child benefit, to tax credits, freezing of many benefits and much more.
"The UK is the fourth most unequal society in the developed world – and yet the Westminster system is completely committed to ploughing more money into a new Trident system.
"Trident is not wanted, it is not needed, and it is not affordable. The only way we can end this shameful waste of money is with a Yes vote in September 2014."