Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, has supported the Government in the renewal of the delivery system for the Trident nuclear missiles.
He gave his backing during the debate on the UK’s nuclear deterrent in the House of Commons on Monday 18th July.
In his speech, Mr Benyon made particular reference to the work of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston. He said: “The nuclear deterrent is my constituency’s largest employer, and it brings many advantages, not least to the supply chain of 275 local companies and 1,500 supply chain organisations nationally.”
He went on to praise the work of AWE’s civil nuclear work and its role in advising the Government on counter-terrorism, the effect it has on nuclear threat reduction, on forensics—not least in the recent Litvinenko inquiry—and on non-proliferation, together with its second-to-none apprenticeship scheme and its academic collaboration with the Orion laser.
But he said, “None of that would matter one jot if the decision we were taking today was wrong. The decision we are taking today is right.” MPs voted by 472 to 117 votes in favour of renewal.
Following the debate, Mr Benyon also highlighted the ongoing concerns relating to proposed changes to the AWE pension scheme. In a statement he said:
“Whilst employees of AWE are not necessarily paid as well as their counterparts in wider industry, what makes AWE such an attractive employer is the quality of its pension scheme. It ensures that very talented individuals are retained by the organisation and will continue to make a valuable contribution to both the civil and military work done there. I would urge the Minister to take note of the very genuine concerns that the proposed changes to the pension scheme will damage morale and will see talent leaking away.”
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