Thank you, Provost. I call on you all to support this motion put before you today and to ensure that we, Fife Council, choose welfare not warfare.
I was deeply concerned to hear of the recent analysis reported by the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which suggests a dramatic increase in the projected cost of the successor Trident nuclear weapons programme to £167 billion.
I believe that it is indefensible for the UK Government to commit billions of pounds of public money to nuclear weapons, particularly when individuals and families across Scotland and the UK are suffering from the consequences of austerity cuts.
As we stand here today, there are 10 thousand families, that’s over 17 thousand children, throughout Fife worried as they are still unsure of their fate and whether or not their monthly family budget is going to be slashed because of the Conservatives’ austerity agenda and their unwavering commitment to cut tax credits.
Spending billions of pounds replacing and maintaining Trident while cutting the welfare budget by £12 billion is morally reprehensible.
Now, I have had many people ask why we are debating such a topic at local government level as it is widely believed that this is a national issue. Well, let me say this clearly – Trident is also a local issue.
Every pound spent on Trident is one less pound spent on our children’s education. One less pound spent on our NHS which we all rely on……. One less pound spent on our police force.
The Scottish share of the £167 billion would be £13,861,000,000.
This is equivalent to training nearly 289,000 nurses–over 5 times as many nurses as we have now;
It is also the equivalent of training over 23,000 Consultants –over 4 times as many Consultants as we have today;
Scotland’s share of Trident replacement is also equal to training nearly 28,000 GPs –nearly 6 times as many GPs as we have now
It is the equivalent to training over 422,000 teachers – more than 8 times as many teachers as we have today;
And it is the equivalent to training over 227,000 police officers –
That means Scotland’s share of Trident replacement costs are the equivalent of training over 13 times as many police officers as we have now.
On the basis of current numbers in all those posts at the latest training costs, the entire bill to train them would be £11,209,915,200 … therefore; it allows it to be said:
“Imagine a Scotland with no nurses, no doctors, no teachers, no police? That’s the cost of renewing Trident.”