def060721 - No. 61

Session 2005-06, 21 July 2006

New Inquiry

New Inquiry

The Future of the Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: the UK manufacturing and skills base

Following the recent publication of its first report into the future of the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent, which examined the strategic context and timetable for decision-making, the Defence Committee has today launched the second in its series of inquiries.

This second-stage inquiry will focus on the UK manufacturing and skills base. It will consider the level of investment needed to sustain essential infrastructure and core skills in the UK submarine construction industry and will examine the potential consequences of a gap in the submarine building programme for the long-term viability of the domestic manufacturing and skills base. It will consider the implications of the rationalisation of the UK ship-building industry for the construction, maintenance and affordability of a possible successor to the Vanguard-class submarine. And it will consider the linkage between the Government’s Defence Industrial Strategy and the decision on retention, replacement or abolition of the UK’s Trident system.

The inquiry will examine the Government’s investment programme at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston, and will consider the extent to which the level of that investment is consistent both with maintaining key skills and infrastructure in the design and manufacture of nuclear warheads and with the stewardship of the UK’s existing warhead stockpile.

It will also consider the extent to which nuclear expertise in the civilian nuclear industry and the higher education sector underpins the UK knowledge and skills base in the military nuclear field.

The Committee would welcome written evidence on these matters. This should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Monday 2 October 2006.

The Committee intends to hold oral evidence sessions in November. Further details and witnesses will be announced in due course.


1. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP (Chairman), Mr David S Borrow MP, Mr Mr David Crausby MP, Linda Gilroy MP, Mr David Hamilton MP, Mr Mike Hancock MP, Mr Dai Havard MP, Mr Adam Holloway MP, Mr Brian Jenkins MP, Mr Kevan Jones MP, Robert Key MP, Mr Mark Lancaster MP, Willie Rennie MP, John Smith MP

2. News Release No. 61


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