Full commitment to new nuclear reactors and big increase in defence spending
GMB Union has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to fully commit to new nuclear power stations and massively ramp up defence spending in the Spring Statement this week [23 March 2022].
With the cost-of-living crisis hitting hard and set to get even worse with the conflict in Ukraine, GMB says only new nuclear and defence spending can give the UK the energy and security required.
New nuclear is already a huge success story at Hinkley Point C, creating 22,000 jobs, while similar proposed projects at Wylfa, in Wales, and Sizewell C, in East Anglia look set to bring massive benefits to the wider economy.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) have a big role to play in generating the energy we need and alongside the factories required for their production, will help bring essential employment and prosperity to local communities.
Meanwhile a firm commitment to increase defence spending would stimulate the economy and shore up UK steel and shipbuilding – as long as Ministers finally commit to building ships in the UK using UK steel.
Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is hitting people hard - and it’s about to get much worse. We face a massive energy price rise in April, while the invasion of Ukraine will hugely affect the UK’s energy security and supply. Rishi Sunak must use his Spring Statement to fully commit to new nuclear. New nuclear isn’t just about Wylfa and Sizewell C. The Moorside site neighbouring Sellafield is available to be a perfect home for the new Small Modular Reactors that will play a major part in delivering the nation’s energy and prosperity for local communities.
We need immediate action on energy bills – that's why GMB is calling for emergency legislation to ring-fence a fair share of North Sea gas for domestic industries and households.
“Meanwhile we must massively increase our defence spending to boost the economy and shore up UK steel and shipbuilding. Inflation means our defence spending is currently falling at the worst possible time.  But this administration must stop sending crucial defence contracts overseas and finally commit to building UK ships in the UK yards, with UK steel.”