Clegg disputes Trident spend as Hammond pledges £350m more

DEFENCE secretary Philip Hammond yesterday announced a further £350m of funding to replace Britain’s nuclear deterrent – as Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg insisted that no final decision had been taken to progress with the project.

Yesterday’s announcement means that £700m has been allocated this year to fund design work on a new submarine to carry Trident missiles from 2028 onwards.

BAE Systems will receive £315m of the latest tranche of funding, with a further £38m going to Babcock.

Hammond said: “This latest expenditure for the next generation of nuclear-armed submarines is an investment in UK security and the British economy, sustaining high-quality jobs and vital skills.”

However Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg yesterday insisted the project will not be given the go-ahead until 2016, “however much other people may not like it that way”.

In the meantime his party will continue to call for talks over finding an alternative replacement for the submarine-based Trident.

“We need to have a considered facts-based debate about what kind of deterrent we need in the future,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. “Let’s remember the idea of a like-for-like, entirely unchanged, replacement for Trident is basically saying we will spend billions of pounds on a nuclear missile system, designed for the sole strategic purpose of flattening Moscow at the press of a button.”