Younger people ‘more anti-nuclear than those who lived in Cold War’

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BRITISH adults who have grown up after the Cold War are more likely than older people to oppose the use of nuclear weapons as part of a country’s defence system, according to research.

Voters aged 18-35 in the UK are more likely to oppose the like-for-like renewal of Trident – Britain’s nuclear weapons system – than their older peers, the survey carried out by ComRes on behalf of WMD Awareness found.

The findings come just two years before the Government is due to decide whether to renew the fleet of submarines that will carry the UK’s nuclear weapons.

It is the first time this decision will be made since the 1980s, when Trident replaced the previous Polaris system.

The research, based on responses from 4,207 people, found younger voters are not engaged in this issue, with only one in 15 thinking the Government should prioritise spending on defence over the next 10 years.

It found that 19 per cent of people aged 18-35 believe the UK nuclear weapon system should be renewed to maintain its current size and capacity, compared with 33 per cent of people aged 36 and older.

Fifty-one per cent agree that the UK nuclear weapon system should be disbanded or reduced in size and capacity, while 54 per cent think nuclear weapons for defence purposes are too expensive for governments to maintain.

The research found 47 per cent of people aged 18-35 disagree that nuclear weapons protect the countries which possess them from modern day threats such as terrorism.

A third (34 per cent) believe renewing Trident is going to cost up to £5bn, when it is actually estimated to cost up to £100bn, according to WMD Awareness.