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FoIA reveals MoD to spend ‘secret’ £750m on nuclear weapons

Despite facing budget cuts across the board, the Ministry of Defence is preparing to invest 750m pounds of taxpayer’s money for the construction of an enriched-uranium facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire.

The so-called Project Pegasus will replace an enriched-uranium facility built at the site in the 1950s.

The revelation came earlier this year, after freedom of information requests led to the publication of a 32-page MoD report that was market “Secret UK Eyes Only”. Although the report was originally heavily redacted, the Information Commissioner recently deemed the full amount of the 747m pounds investment should be made public.

The hefty investment will benefit AWE Management that has a 25-year non-revokable contract to run the base and comprises US corporations Lockheed Martin, Jacobs and UK’s Serco.

As highlighted by Observer’s Jamie Doward, other MoD investments in AWE include 500m for Project Mensa in nearby Burghfield to improve its warhead assembly facilities. But AWE’s bill, which between 2008-2011 amounts to 2.6bn pounds, includes millions for projects that have now been written off.

Like the 120m pounds spent on a cancelled plan to build a new hydrodynamics research facility at AWE Aldermaston (Project Hydrus), or a project to construct a “Systems Engineering Facility” that was cancelled and the 16m pounds invested written off.

Today’s top FoIA stories

Relatives received £6.7 million to visit inmates over the last three years

According to the Express On Sunday, £2,343,132 was handed by the Assisted Prison Visit scheme last year to family members visiting inmates. Furthermore, in a time when Justice Secretary Ken Clarke’s department has to cut £2 billion out of his £9 billion annual budget, 139 jails in England and Wales had new plasma televisions installed.

Scotland’s police missing £56,000 worth of equipment

Almost  £56,000 of equipment has been stolen from Scotland’s largest police force over the last five years, FoIA requests by the Press Association revealed.

Private social workers receiving more than £220,000 from HSE

The Health and Safety Executive handed out huge payouts to social workers responsible for children placed in care after courts appointed them as “guardians ad litem”. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show a top-earning social worked earned even £266,000  year.

Donald Trump asks for American-style protection of new development

Documents released after a FoIA request revealed the tycoon’s “unrealistic expectations” from Grampian Police, called to guard his £ 740 million golf resort near Aberdeen while residents opposing the plans see local authorities as Trump’s “private security”.

Health trusts squander thousands of pounds on recruitment firms

The Daily Mail reports that primary care trusts and strategic health authorities spent nearly 50 million pounds during the last three years in recruitment firms to hire managers, FoIA requests have revealed.

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