Chairman of trade organisation ADS (Aerospace, Securities and Defence) Ian Godden has written to David Cameron demanding to know if government intends to mke the MoD pay for Trident.
Chancellor George Osborne recently stated that the Government is considering making the Ministry of Defence pay for Britain’s Trident nuclear defence system instead of paying for it independently. This would mean the Ministry of Defence’s budget would be effectively cut by a further seven per cent, having already taken a ten per cent squeeze from public spending cuts.
After offering his congratulations on the birth of the Camerons’ fourth child earlier this week, Godden cut to the chase.
“The UK-based defence industry has reflected with great concern on the recent statements by senior Ministers in the media about the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” he wrote.
“There has been widespread support from industry for the Strategic defence and Security Review (SDSR) as an opportunity to give private investors real clarity over the Government’s defence and strategic priorities and the budgets attached to them. But recent statements appear top throw doubt on the government’s full commitment to the deterrent and suggest that it costs will fall on MoD potentially at the expense of other expenditure.”
He said these statements will be “unsettling” for both investors in the defence industry and Britain’s allies and that while ADS understands the need for cuts, the defence budget has already been squeezed from 4.4% of GDP to 2.2% in recent years. He said defence is an advanced manufacturing sector, the type of which government has stated our new look economy should base itself on, and that exports from the industry last year amounted to £7.5bn.
“I would therefore be grateful if you could provide the clarity that industry needs on the future of the nuclear deterrent,” he said, “especially on how Trident will be funded and whether it will lead to extra cuts in the conventional capabilities required by our Armed Forces for the long run.”