§ Mrs. Gilroy
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest estimate of the cost of the Trident Acquisition programme; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. George Robertson
The current estimate of the total acquisition cost of the Trident programme, with payments already made expressed at the prices and exchange rates actually incurred and future spend at the rates assumed in the latest long-term costing of the Defence programme (the hybrid estimate), is now £9,756 million. Leaving aside the effects of price inflation and exchange rate variation (+£21 million and -£1 million respectively), there has been a real cost reduction since last year of £52 million. Expenditure on the Trident acquisition programme to 30 September 1998 represented some 94 per cent. of this estimate. If all expenditure, past and projected, is brought up to the latest long-term costing conditions (the non-hybrid estimate) the estimate is £12,870 million.565W
Estimate table (hybrid) £million US UK Total Previous estimate (July 1998) at 1997–98 economic conditions (1=$1.6137) 2,911 6,877 9,788 Real changes —42 —10 —52 Price Inflation on unspent balance +5 +16 +21 Exchange Rate Variation —1 n/a —1 Revised Estimate at 1998–99 economic conditions (£1=$1.6269) 2,873 6,883 9,756
Estimate table (non-hybrid) £ million US UK Total Previous estimate (July 1998) at 1997–98 economic conditions (1=$1.6137) 3,443 9,077 12,520 Real changes —42 —10 —52 Price Inflation +75 +356 +430 Exchange Rate Variation —28 n/a —28 Revised Estimate at 1998–99 economic conditions (£1=$1.6269) 3,448 9,423 12,870
Figures rounded to nearest £ million hence any apparent imbalances.
The programme also continues to show an overall reduction in real terms on its original 1982 estimate. This reduction, including the savings resulting from the decision to process missiles at the United States facility at Kings Bay, Georgia now stands at over £3.7 billion at current prices.
The proportion of the estimate for work undertaken in the United Kingdom is a little over 70 per cent.
Our three in-service Vanguard class submarines have successfully maintained a continuous at-sea deterrent. HMS Vengeance, the fourth of the class, was rolled out last September and is scheduled to enter operational service in two years' time.