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Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received about the increase in explosive power which Trident missiles can achieve compared with Polaris; and if he will make a statement.

Since the general election in June—when the Government's policy of modernising our strategic nuclear deterrent with Trident was overwhelmingly endorsed—my Department has received less than 20 written representations from the public criticising Trident's capabilities.


To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he proposes to take to ensure that servicing of Trident missiles at King's bay, Georgia, will not result in job losses amongst those workers who presently service Polaris missiles at the Royal Naval armament depot, Coulport.

There will be opportunities for employment on the Trident facilities at RNAD Coulport as they progressively come on line in the early 1990s. However, this task will be less than current Polaris activity and the staffing requirement will therefore be correspondingly lower.Manpower levels for Trident and other future tasks at RNAD Coulport are presently under consideration, but a high priority is already being given to establishing what alternative employment may be possible to replace that currently offered by Polaris.


To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current dollar cost of Trident and how it is affected by the $US/£ sterling rate of exchange.

The dollar cost included in the current estimate for the United Kingdom Trident programme of £9,265 million is $5,219 million at the exchange rate of $1·50 = £1. This rate was the one used for the annual re-costing of the defence long term programme as a part of which the cost estimate of £9,265 million was assessed.The Trident cost estimate is currently being reviewed with the intention of an announcement being made to Parliament by my right hon. Friend early in the new year. At that time the exchange rate applicable to the new estimate and the dollar content of that estimate will also be announced.