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’.

Now, today we’re told that “French energy supplier EDF has estimated that the cost of completing the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant will be nearly 10% more than expected.”

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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Comments (10)

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  1. bringiton says:

    Trident is part of the Rule Britannia mind set of the London establishment.
    Being part of the biggest trading bloc in the world allowed them to continue to fool themselves that they were in charge of a very important state but not for much longer.
    I am pretty sure that they were prepared to spend any amount of money on energy solutions which didn’t involve being dependent on Scottish renewables.
    Westminster doesn’t do dependency.
    Rule Britannia.

  2. David Whannel says:

    rUK are not dependent on Scottish renewables, so much so we expect them to keep paying for them post indy, and bizarrely, our grid costs which are just as much as the billions wasted on weather dependent power, as some form of international aid, can’t see it, yet it made the white paper, painful reading:

    1. James Mills says:

      But …renewables aren’t killing anyone or designed to kill anyone . The idea was to help provide a mix of energy sources – putting all your eggs into a nuclear project that hasn’t even been proven to work is madness , as is funding a ludicrously expensive nuclear cod-piece .

      1. Golfnut says:

        Actually they are David, £6 billion worth per annum of Scotland’s surplus. Not that we get any benefit financially. If you get the chance, pay a visit to the Cruachan Hydro plant on Loch Awe, just one of the strategic reserves in Scotland to cover England’s dependency.

    2. Wul says:

      Yeah David,

      Rain, wind & tide are so unreliable in Scotland.

      How about helping to campaign to get rid of us Scots being such a drain on your country? Contribute to a pro-independence group of your choice.


      1. David Whannel says:

        Renewables aid the death of 1,200 Scots killed each year by fuel poverty due to the increases we’ve seen on our bills. The other reasons given for fuel poverty are poor insulation (which hasn’t changed much as bills rose) and household incomes (which for those on pensions, hasn’t changed much as bills rose). The SNP promised fuel poverty would be a thing of the past by last year but failed to end it (they’ve now thrown £500m at their problem), this does nothing for their case for independence. If they were worth so much why in the world would the white paper suggest rUK would continue paying for them if you believe they can pay for themselves? By 2020 UK renewable subsidies are set to cost us £9.1bn/yr with ClimateXChange stating over half will be in Scotland, can we really pay that between 5m, given the subsidies are just the start, grid and backup costs multiply it much further. All unnecessarily given how cheaply other countries provide nuclear for.

        A green as gold Guardian article on the topic

        The whole Climate Change Act 2008 via Labour is set to cost the UK £1.3 Trillion, remarkably similar to our national debt that leaves each child born yesterday facing £78,000 to pay after interest. We’ll achieve next to nothing with that act, as those born in the developing world in a matter of months will create more CO2 than we can ever offset. The key was to find a power source the (developing) world could utilise cheaply. Trump’s on it with clean coal if your still having a tantrum about nuclear, or there’s clean and cleaner gas, but that £1.3Trillion sure dwarfs any bomb costs, to do just as little.

        All your other ideas around independence are great, but renewables are a complete waste heading nowhere, listen to the science then calculate the costs, money we could be better spending on education.

        1. Are you – by any chance – in denial about climate change David?

        2. Clive Scott says:

          David, take a trip to Denmark. They started using windmills to produce electricity as far back as 1942 and have continuously developed the systems since then. They now make extensive use of onshore and offshore wind, solar, biomass, heat pumps, district heating, and properly designed buildings with heat recovery systems and insulation superior to anything I have seen in the U.K.
          I am old enough to remember Tomorrow’s World on the BBC telling us that nuclear produced electricity would be so cheap there would be no need to meter it. The reality is that it is the most expensive and dangerous system ever devised. The Hinckley project is yet another catastrophic decision made by the corrupt Westminster politicians.

  3. Wul says:

    How much would it cost to triple glaze and properly insulate every home in the UK?

    A lot, but surely not as much as Hinkley C or the Sellafield clean up?

    Give the cash to local authorities to set up dedicated teams of well paid, securely employed local workers who will spend their income in the local economy. (rather than hide it in Panama or Bahamas)

    Spend the change on renewable energy infrastructure.

  4. Geacher says:

    “Trident is approximately £20 billion. At present the entire block grant is £26 billion.”
    And that, right there, is where you lose your credibility. I see what you did, massaging figures to suit your argument, but unfortunately a lot of people will take this nonsense and run with it. When you distort figures, you KNOW the argument is lost.

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