Liam Fox quoted that funding of the renewal of the Trident system from the Ministry of Defence budget would make it “very difficult to maintain what we are currently doing in terms of capabilities”.
MoD currently is responsible for running costs of submarine-based deterrent, but there is a central fund which pays for system’s capital costs which has been expected to be around £20bn.
Dr Fox has also confirmed that he’s involved in talks with Treasury over the suggestions on MoD is taking on the full financial responsibility of renewing Trident, even though the department is already facing 10% cuts in its budget.
He warned: “To take the capital cost would make it very difficult to maintain what we are currently doing in terms of capabilities.”
When asked about reports that he had threatened to quit if Trident was not replaced, Dr Fox told the BBC: “We really can’t play fast and loose with the country’s defence.
“We don’t know what the threats will be between now and 2050 – no one could have predicted 40 years ago what the world would look like today.
“So we have to ensure we have the precautions to protect Britain from nuclear blackmail by any other state.”
He also mentioned that he was “pretty confident” review of the costs of the Trident replacement could identify significant savings.
Though the talk for altering the funding of Trident have drawn significant criticism from the Labour MP John Woodcock, who is a representative of the Barrow shipyard where submarines are built and is also a member of the defence select committee.
“It is alarming that George Osborne is intent on ditching the commitment to proper funding for renewing our deterrent made by the last Labour government,” he said.
“The new Chancellor seems intoxicated by his new power to threaten colleagues with unrealistic and unwise spending contractions.”
Going by the current plans, the construction of Trident’s new submarine platform is expected to begin by2014.