Revealed: Jobs dependent on Trident vastly overstated

Revealed: Jobs dependent on Trident vastly overstated

MSP Rona Mackay has told how the number of jobs dependent on Trident has been vastly overstated and renewed calls for nuclear disarmament.

During a nuclear weapons debate in the Scottish Parliament, the Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP highlighted research by the Jimmy Reid Foundation showing just 600 civilian jobs are reliant on Faslane and Coulport.

It debunks the argument made by Jackie Baillie MSP and fellow pro-Trident politicians, that thousands of local jobs are at stake if Trident is removed.

Ms Mackay pointed out the “obscene” £200 billion cost of the upcoming renewal of the nuclear weaponry.

The economic consequences of funnelling money into the renewal would also have a knock-on effect on how many type 26 frigates are being built on the Clyde, she told the chamber.

Ms Mackay said: “The report shows the impact that the Trident successor programme will have on Scotland. It destroys the claims from Labour and Jackie Baillie that not renewing Trident will cost thousands of jobs. In reality, 600 civilian jobs are dependent on Trident at Faslane and Coulport, and the successor programme fails to bring a single new job to the base.

“Of course, those 600 jobs are vital to the community, but if there is no renewal there will still be work at the bases for civilian workers for the next 12 to 15 years.

“By that time, half those workers will have reached retirement age and others will have benefited from redeployment or voluntary exit from the sector.”

ENDS

TRIDENT JOBS REPORT: http://reidfoundation.org/2016/11/stop-trident-renewal/ FULL SPEECH:

Rona Mackay: I thank Bill Kidd for bringing this members’ business debate, and I thank the Jimmy Reid Foundation and the authors of the report for their hard work in putting the case for non-renewal of what is an obscene weapon on Scotland’s shores.

The report shows the impact that the Trident successor programme will have on Scotland. It destroys the claims from Labour and Jackie Baillie that not renewing Trident will cost thousands of jobs. In reality, 600 civilian jobs are dependent on

Trident at Faslane and Coulport, and the successor programme fails to bring a single new job to the base. Of course, those 600 jobs are vital to the community, but if there is no renewal there will still be work at the bases for civilian workers for the next 12 to 15 years. By that time, half those workers will have reached retirement age and others will have benefited from redeployment or voluntary exit from the sector.

Renewing Trident will also have major knock-on consequences for Clyde shipbuilding, with renewal costs meaning fewer orders of new type 26 frigates.

Scrapping Trident renewal is not a risk to jobs, but the astronomical cost of Trident—£200 billion—is costing jobs. We all know that the money could be spent far more productively. It could be used to counteract the continuing decline in armed forces expenditure—a decline that is causing job losses not just on the Clyde but across the country.

However, there is far more to the argument than pound notes. The recent Trident misfire and subsequent cover-up demonstrate the huge risk that those war machines present to us all. If the weapons are not risky enough, we cannot forget that the man who has control over them on our land is President Trump. Can anyone say, hand on heart, that such a prospect does not terrify them?

Then there are the warheads that are transported by road through Scotland’s most populated city. The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament estimates that an accident on the convoys could lead to plutonium and uranium spreading across distances as vast as 17km, covering most of Glasgow and outlying areas, including my constituency in East Dunbartonshire. The risk that the convoys pose to human life is simply unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.

The Clyde naval base was chosen to be home to the UK’s nuclear submarines because of the depth of the Gare Loch. However, that body of water is nowhere near as deep as the splits in the Labour Party on Trident. Labour’s position on Trident has become farcical, with a leader in Scotland who is in favour of nuclear weapons but opposes them, and a UK leader who is opposed to them but leads a party that supports their renewal. Confused? I certainly am.

The Scottish Government has a mandate to get rid of Trident. The Scottish National Party has been elected for an historic third term, and in every one of our manifestos we have said that we do not support Trident. Now is the time for us to start making plans about how we can get rid of it. We cannot wait for permission that we will never get from the UK Government. We have to go ahead and rid our country of that obscene political weapon.

We are the only party that can and will do that. We owe it to our children to support bairns, not bombs. I support the motion.

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