Cost of the Union (update)
The case for dependence was made again and again on what was cutely termed ‘the harsh economic realities’. We had ‘narrow shoulders’ and a volatile revenue base, if we were not too wee and stupid, we were clearly too poor. Not so mighty Britain (now spectacularly and tragically indebted). But the true costs of the Union are sharply rising …
Only back in 2014 the costs of the strategically useless and unpopular Trident was an eye-watering £100 billion.
In figures released last year, its doubled to a staggering £205 billion:
Manufacturing four successor submarines £31 billion
Contingency fund £10 billion
Missile extension programme £350 million
Replacement warheads £4 billion
Infrastructure capital costs £4 billion
In service costs £142 billion
Conventional military forces directly assigned to support Trident £1 billion
Decommisioning £13 billion
TOTAL £205 billion
Now we’re told the UK’s Trident warhead factory has cost double its budget – and it is expected to take more than two further years to complete…
“An upgrade of the UK’s Trident warhead factory has cost double its budget – and it is expected to take more than two further years to complete. Funding of £2bn was allocated for rebuilding facilities between 2005 and 2015 at Berkshire’s two Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites. AWE had spent £3.96bn by the end of the 2015/16 financial year, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed.”
It makes Hinkley C look like a bargain. The nuclear power station – described as “the most expensive project in the world ever” – is facing delays and another massive costs rise. The cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant could we’re told now reach almost £21bn, £3bn more than planned, the French energy company EDF has admitted, as it published a construction timetable suggesting first power could be delayed until 2026.
It’s only through Freedom of Information Acts that we know the £70bn costs to clean-up of the Sellafield plant in Cumbria. Some think it could be as high as £218 billion others claim it just ‘can’t be forecast’.
Apart from the vast folly of these strange projects, how they put people in danger, and fail to deliver what they say they will, they are also just sinks for vast amounts of public money. Scotland’s share of the cost of Trident is approximately £20 billion. At present the entire block grant is £26 billion.
This is a sociopathic defence and energy policy that distorts our economy and prevents us thinking about future-focused alternatives for clean and renewable energy and peace.
These are project which bring no benefit to Scotland and brings only huge insecurity to the world.
As we should be racing to a low-carbon renewables revolution, and in light of the UN Nuclear Weapons Treaty, this is unforgivable moral hazard and a complete waste of public money.
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