‘Cut Trident not Treatment!’, ‘Cut Nukes not Nurses!’ ‘Fund Welfare not Warfare!’ These were amongst the messages that Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group shared with shoppers in Yorkshire Street on Saturday (12 June 2010).
They displayed a mock Trident nuclear missile with a very large price label of £97bn (£97,000,000,000) and asked people to join them in calling on the new coalition government to immediately decommission the current Trident nuclear missile system, abandon all plans to replace ‘Trident’ and to spend all monies saved on improving the country’s education, health and social care services.
Philip Gilligan, on behalf of the Peace Group said,“On 6 May 2010, an overwhelming majority of voters in Rochdale and in Heywood and Middleton voted for parliamentary candidates who had clearly declared their opposition to so-called ‘Trident Replacement. This came as no surprise. These unnecessary and dangerous nuclear weapons of mass destruction already costs British taxpayers £2,000,000,000 per year, and the plans to upgrade them will cost our country tens of £billions more. Based on population, Rochdale’s share of the current costs already amounts to £7,000,000 per year. Greenpeace estimates that the true cost of ‘Trident Replacement’ will total £97,000,000,000. Rochdale’s share of this would amount to a staggering £300,000,000. This is money that could and should be spent on essential health, education and social care services. The new coalition government tells us that it needs to ‘reduce the deficit’ and has already announced over £6bn (£6,000,000,000) in swingeing cuts, but it still refuses to even include Trident in the review of defence spending. In the election campaign, Nick Clegg and his colleagues claimed that they “oppose like-for-like replacement of Trident.” They told us that “It is not suited to today’s security threats and, with a £100bn price tag, it is a system we simply cannot afford”. We agree and, now, they are in government, we want to see them cut what we cannot afford, not the services we need.”