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     News 2014

KOFAC sets out views on successor deterrent urging all political parties to approvemain gate for successor submarines in next parliament


Keep our Future Afloat Campaign (KOFAC)  : Press Release Wednesday 15 April 2015

Cross-Party Commitment to Successor Submarines Continues – So Stop Scaremongering

The Keep Our Future Afloat Campaign (KOFAC), which is an entirely apolitical organisation, met on Friday, 10 April 2015, and re-affirmed its policy. Kofac continues to urge all political parties to commit to authorising in 2016 a Main Gate Approval for the build of a fleet of 4 new nuclear-powered Successor Submarines to carry Britain’s existing strategic deterrent capability and operate Continuously At Sea Deterrent (CASD) patrols over the life of the new boats so as to help ensure Britain’s ultimate national security.

KOFAC went on to express concern that irresponsible scaremongering about successor deterrent submarine programme could have unnecessary adverse impacts for the local community and those firms and communities associated with the successor build programme which is currently progressing towards the Main Gate approval decision time next year.

Kofac says it’s taken a look at the reality of the main political parties policies towards strategic deterrent carrying submarine replacement before reaching the very clear and unequivocal view it now expresses here.

KOFAC, is keen to reassure all the communities in which the UK Submarine Enterprise operates out of that there is strong evidence of consistent cross-party support for the new replacement successor class of nuclear-powered submarines being built.

Any scaremongering about its future should end, as it is irresponsible and potentially damaging to the interests of the Furness community where the boats are built and the communities throughout Britain where wider industrial base of up to 1,400 companies that are reliant upon the Successor Submarine  programme are based.

KOFAC is clear in its view that the existing Vanguard class submarines (which carry the existing nuclear deterrent missiles) are aging and need replacing to keep Britain safe.

It adds, Based on presently available technology, 4 new boats will be needed to replace the existing 4 boat Vanguard submarine fleet.

Continuously-at-Sea-Deterrent (CASD) patrols which have operated consistently for over 45 years, will also continue to be necessary to deal with any perceived possible threats to UK security emerging from now through to 2060 or beyond.

KOFAC is reassured by the fact   that there continues to be, consistent   policy statements, actions and reiteration of views expressed by the Conservatives in government and the Labour Party in Government and then more recently in Opposition about the need for sustaining the UK’s, submarine based, Continuously at Sea deterrent patrol capability and building a replacement fleet of submarines from 2016.

Residents and businesses in Furness and those in the communities throughout the UK where the wider submarine supply chain is present should, in KOFAC’s opinion, therefore be able to look forward to a new government building 4 new successor deterrent submarines.

Looking at party policies, KOFAC points to this past week’s twin statements first by Labour Leader Ed Miliband in the Sunday People of 5 April  that:

“We should keep our independent nuclear deterrent. And it’s got to be a continuous at sea deterrent. I respect people who want to get rid of nuclear weapons but I totally disagree with them. Trident is the most cost-effective option in an uncertain and unstable world.”

Then last Thursday 9 April when he added,

“We are committed to an independent nuclear deterrent. We are committed to renewing Trident. We are committed to continuous at sea deterrent. On the question of four boats or three boats, what we’ve said is we’ll be guided by the experts. The experts say four boats. Now it’s right to have a review, because as technology changes you can look at it, but our clear position is basically four boats because that’s what the experts say…”.

These words, add to The Labour Party emphasising on 20 January 2015 in the House of Commons that it is “committed to a minimum credible deterrent, best delivered through a continuously at sea deterrent, as the most cost effective way of deterring future threats,” to the UK and the Labour Party Manifesto statement issued yesterday, 13 April, which clearly stated that….

Labour remains committed to a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent”….

All this builds on the last Labour Government’s decision to start of the Successor Programme – its design stage – and that the most recent Conservative and Lib Democratic Coalition government’s progression of the programme to spend £3.3b on preparatory works by next year in anticipation of Main Gate.

With the Conservative Party stating “trident submarine renewal is the only way to deter nuclear threat”. …andThe Prime Minister’s having, earlier on 3 April 2013, stated that “we need our nuclear deterrent as much today as we did when a previous British Government embarked on it over six decades ago”  

Today 14 April  2015 he added you need four Trident submarines…. You need four to have one on patrol at all times” . Thisreflected the Conservative Party Manifesto commitment :

“..We will retain the Trident continuous at sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our safety and build the new fleet of four Successor Ballistic Missile Submarines – securing thousands of highly-skilled engineering jobs in the UK”

The local Liberal Democratic Party supports of a new submarine programme.  

More importantly the Liberal Democratic Party MP for Argyll, in which constituency the submarines operational base is located, said on 20 January 2014 that “we have no idea what nuclear threats may emerge over the next 50 years a nuclear deterrent is an insurance policy the intention is never to use it but if it succeeds in its aim of deterring possible adversaries it has done its job and is worth the money

So Spring 2015 sees unwavering support from Britain’s main political parties for retention of Britain’s deterrent – both Labour and Conservatives advocate continuously at sea operations being sustained  with new submarines.

The build programme - 4 new Successor deterrent submarines - is a national endeavour, needed to keep Britain’s safe for the next 50 years - it’s therefore important that strong national support for renewing our submarine capability is maintained.

For further information contact   :

Harold Samms, Vice Chairman, Keep our Future afloat Campaign (KOFAC)  and UNITE trade union Mobile: 07793425136

Keep our future afloat campaign secretariat www.navalshipbuilding.co.uk

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