Trident 'unnecessary' for Britain's defence

Churches are urging the Government to drop Trident, saying it is "unnecessary" for the country's defence and "unaffordable" in the current economic climate.

A paper compiled and published at the request of the Liberal Democrats concluded that Britain could reduce the current Trident fleet of four submarines, although it added that alternatives would be more expensive.

In their joint response, the United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church and Baptist Union of Great Britain welcomed the review's conclusion on Trident.

However, they said that an opportunity had been missed to examine the case for ridding Britain completely of weapons of mass destruction.

Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Joint Public Issues Team said: "The idea that you need to have a submarine at sea continuously, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, simply doesn't make sense. It is a waste of precious resource and money.

"But beyond that the UK is rightly insisting that non-nuclear weapons states restrain themselves from developing nuclear weapons technology. Our position only has credibility if our own nuclear policy recognises the reduced role for nuclear weapons in security policies today."

Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, said spending vast sums of money on Trident "takes money away from more productive areas".

"Trident is a hangover from the Cold War era. Priorities today have changed," she said.

The Churches argue that dropping Trident would not only be good for national security, but could also have a positive impact on public services and employment opportunities.

Mrs Rominger continued: "We are encouraged by a growing global acceptance that the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable in any circumstance.

"People of all faiths deplore the notion that our security must be built on the threat of widespread destruction of human life."