THE Faslane-based nuclear weapons deterrent could be disarmed without massive job losses, according to an independent report published today.

The Nuclear Education Trust, a think-tank and charity, says their conclusion is drawn from evidence from defence diversification projects around the world.

The report recommends that workers and communities must take the lead in making decisions for moving away from Trident "but a broad partnership involving all stakeholders is necessary for success".

It said political support for "diversification" must come from national, regional and local levels and suggested timelines to organise and plan for the move ranged from three to five years as a minimum.

The Herald: HOSTILE WATERS: HMS Victorious, one of the Royal Navy's Trident submarines, leaves its home port of HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, Scotland

Funding must be available not just for putting a plan into action but for organising, analysis of the situation, planning and then implementation, the charity said.

Peter Burt, Nuclear Education Trust Board trustee said: “Our independent analysis of international experience of defence diversification tells us that a government needs to be proactive in getting the conditions right for a successful transition from skilled defence jobs to those in the equally skilled, civil sector. Those conditions include complete stakeholder participation including workers and communities, and national, regional and local political support. Proactive planning and comprehensive funding, with continued learning for effective implementation are essential for success.

"Many defence industry jobs are at risk from automation, global supply chains, changes in strategic thinking as well as the sheer cost of the work in today's austere financial climate. The Nuclear Education Trust calls on the current and future governments to make use of the findings of this research and integrate them into an effective defence diversification policy, part of a comprehensive industrial strategy."

Fabian Hamilton, MP, shadow minister for peace and disarmament said: "While it is not yet Labour Party policy to scrap Trident, I am committed, not only to transitioning away from nuclear weapons, but to protecting jobs at the same time.

"High-skilled jobs are good for our economy and, if we decide to transition away from Trident, defence diversification is the only way to ensure that the vital skills used in the development of Britain's nuclear weapons are not lost.

TUC deputy general secretary Paul Nowak said: "The UK's defence capability will always need to change over time to safeguard against new threats in a changing world. When decisions are made, it's important to protect and prioritise good quality UK jobs and the communities linked to the defence industry. Unions and the workforce should have a say in creating new opportunities for highly skilled workers in defence and other advanced manufacturing and engineering industries."

The report is launched in Parliament at 4pm on Tuesday.