The launch-pads for deadly missiles on Britain’s new nuclear submarines are being built in Fife – despite MPs still being months away from approving the renewal of Trident.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon revealed Babcock was constructing key components of the fleet just yards away from the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier as he inspected the ship being constructed at Rosyth dockyard.
The SNP slammed the revelation, accusing the UK Government of “spending money for nuclear weapons which Parliament has not agreed to”.
Invergowrie-raised Mr Fallon told The Courier: “This morning I was visiting the facility here that is starting to build the missile tubes for the first Trident successor boat.
“That is being done here, on the Forth. The first of five missile tubes for the first of the four successor boats. It’s one of the lead items and it is being built here in Scotland.
“There are 50 employed already and that will rise to 100. That’s a very good example of, down the supply chain, Scottish companies benefit from defence expenditure.
“Scottish brain power is going to be key to our defence spending over the next few years and we want more small Scottish technology companies to bid for this kind of work.”
SNP defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara said: “The tragedy is Westminster is hell bent on spending a huge amount of money of something useless and the Tories want to rush through the maingate decision which will commit the UK to Trident for decades to come.
“Michael Fallon needs to be upfront and tell Parliament what the UK government is spending money on, and why.”
In May 2011 the UK coalition government approved the assessment phase for new submarines, and authorised the purchase of steel for the hulls.
The Liberal Democrats used their weight in the partnership to argue Trident was a waste of money. They wanted to see a continuous, at sea nuclear missile system replaced with cheaper cruise misses.
May’s General Election saw the Conservatives returned as a majority on a manifesto which includes a commitment to four new submarines.
The final decision to commit to the submarine programme is scheduled for next year and – if it goes ahead – construction will start late next year at the Barrow shipyard, with the first boat due to enter service in 2028.