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Nuclear Deterrent

Volume 546: debated on Monday 11 June 2012

15. How much his Department plans to spend on renewing the nuclear deterrent in the remainder of the spending period. (110558)

The Ministry of Defence plans to invest around £1.4 billion between now and 2014-15 on the assessment phase of the successor submarine programme, as announced to Parliament in May last year. The total cost of the assessment phase, including long-lead items, will be around £3 billion by the time it is complete in 2016-17. Without that investment, it could not be guaranteed that a successor submarine would be available in time to ensure a continuous at-sea deterrent.

With unfriendly regimes advancing their development of nuclear weaponry, will the Minister give an assurance that the United Kingdom will be defended by the most advanced and effective nuclear deterrent?

I can assure my hon. Friend that we understand the vital importance of keeping the minimum effective nuclear deterrent for precisely the reasons she sets out so eloquently.

The decision finally to go ahead is welcomed on the Opposition side of the House, and indeed in my constituency, but the previous Secretary of State put the cost of delaying at between £1.2 billion and £1.4 billion, so is the new Secretary of State’s estimate of the extra cost of delay higher, lower or about the same?

I must be honest and say that I am not sure what delay the hon. Gentleman refers to, so I suggest that we have a conversation about it later.