UK Nuclear Deterrent to Cost $256b

UK Nuclear Deterrent to Cost $256bUK Nuclear Deterrent to Cost $256b

The overall cost of replacing and maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent will reach £167 billion ($256 billion), much more than expected, according to a lawmaker's calculations based on official figures.

The Scottish Nationalist Party, which wants Britain's Scotland-based nuclear-armed Trident submarines scrapped, called the sum "unthinkable and indefensible" at a time when deep cuts under the government's "austerity" policies mean "thousands of people across the UK are struggling to afford basics like food", Reuters reported.

Some military officials also oppose investment in Trident, saying the money would be better spent on maintaining the army and on more conventional technology, which have also faced cuts. Until now, Prime Minister David Cameron's government has said replacing the aging fleet of four submarines, which carry nuclear warheads to provide a continuous at-sea deterrent, would cost an estimated £15-20 billion pounds.

It has as yet given no official estimate of the cost of its replacement and maintenance.

Critics have previously said Britain will need to spend £100 billion, a figure based on a 2014 report by the independent Trident Commission. He added that the in-service costs would be about 6% of the annual defense budget over their lifetime. The total defense budget for 2014/15 reached 33.8 billion pounds and rises to 34.1 billion pounds in 2015/16, according to the ministry.Analysts say the Trident program is going to consume more than double the proportion of the defense budget of its predecessor.