This research considered the economic and employment implications for Barrow-in-Furness, where the UK 's nuclear submarines are built, if the Trident replacement programme is cancelled. It showed that the submarine shipyard need not close if Trident is not renewed and that regeneration funding at the level of £100 million based on a government defence industrial strategy could replace a thousand jobs.
BARROW IS NOT FACING A "BINARY" CHOICE OVER TRIDENT
COALITION'S REVIEW OPTIONS MAY LEAD TO "STEP DOWN" IN EMPLOYMENT BUT NOT CLOSURE
REGENERATION AND DIVERSIFICATION ARE POSSIBLE BUT £100 MILLION + MAY BE REQUIRED
GOVERNMENT SHOULD ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY AND GIVE GUARANTEE TO COMMUNITY
In June 2016, the Nuclear Information Service reported on research covering similar issues relating to jobs and arms conversion at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, where the UK's nuclear warheads are built and maintained. The report set out a blueprint to show how AWE could successfully diversify its work into the civilian sector, thus saving jobs and expertise, in the event of an end to the Trident programme.
In Response to the Inquiry
Jeremy Corbyn, the new Leader of the Labour Party, cited the report in his Defence Diversification proposals that formed part of his leadership campaign.
At the Inquiry launch, NET Chair Madeline Held said "Our independent analysis of the options being considered in the Coalition's Trident Alternatives Review suggests that Barrow is not facing an "all or nothing" choice – one where either 6,000 are employed on four "like for like" replacements for Trident submarines or all are made redundant.
She went on to say "It is quite frankly unbelievable that at a time of austerity, when every item of public expenditure has to be justified to the N'th degree, that the biggest proposed UK investment programme has received so little public scrutiny."
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Barrow in Furness, like some other local economies, is highly dependent on nuclear weapon defence related industries. The "Maingate" decision due to be taken in Parliament in 2016 on the replacement of Trident highlights this fact. Meanwhile the Cabinet Office is currently taking forward a Trident Alternatives Review (TAR) which is examining whether there are options other than a like for like replacement of Trident. The review is being conducted in private – and will not report until late 2012 or early 2013.
TAR terms of reference
1. Are there credible submarine-based alternatives to the current proposal, e.g. modified Astute using cruise missiles?
2. Are there alternative nuclear postures, i.e. non-CASD [continuous at-sea deterrence], which could maintain credibility?
3. Are there credible alternatives to a submarine-based deterrent?
NET commissioned Steve Barwick of Connect Communications, an award-winning, independent political communications agency, to undertake this Inquiry into the implications for Barrow in Furness posed by the different proposals in the Government's Trident Alternatives Review. The purpose of NET's survey and research would not be to advocate for - or against - replacing Trident. It would however take evidence and listen to a spectrum of views on the economic future for Barrow in the public knowledge that the Trident Alternatives Review was considering options that potentially have implications for Barrow.
The findings aimed to:
- provide a genuine independent attempt to look at the impact of the Trident Alternatives Review options on Barrow's future economy and its communities and in particular provide a genuine independent attempt to look at the issue of diversification both at Barrow and within its supply chain; and make recommendations
- gather perspectives and views from a range of stakeholders and policy makers including; businesses, communities, trade unions, parliamentarians, local government, academics, economists and others
- provide a timely opportunity to inform the Trident Alternatives Review and future policy development.
The Inquiry examined the following specific key questions:
- the economic and industrial alternatives resulting from options other than a like for like replacement of Trident?
- the economic and industrial considerations in taking forward an active policy of diversification both for Barrow and its supply chain
- what can be learnt from previous initiatives to diversify and/or regenerate the Furness peninsula
- the scale and type of investment and commitment that is required by Government – and others - to sustain and develop jobs and skills in Barrow?
- the other actions that might be taken – by wider partners and civil society – in response to the need for diversification
- whether there are lessons that can be learnt from comparable international programmes
The NET Trustees would like to express their huge thanks to those who contributed to the funding of this report, particularly The Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation and the WF Southall Trust, but also the many individual donors.