THE short term future of hundreds of Furness shipyard workers looks secure after the Government gave the go-ahead for design work to begin on Trident.

Defence secretary Liam Fox approved the first stage of replacing submarines for Britain's nuclear deterrent, at a cost of £3 billion, claiming it was the ‘ultimate guarantee of national security’.

But he also announced the Cabinet Office would conduct an assessment of alternatives to Trident before the final decision on replacing the existing fleet is made in 2016.

Furness MP John Woodcock said: "In the short term, it is good that more work can go ahead on this critically important programme. But people will be alarmed by the shock news that there is to be yet another protracted review of deterrent options to be chaired by a Liberal Democrat minister - a party pre-disposed to scrap Trident replacement.

"This added risk and uncertainty for workers in Barrow shipyard need results. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that we stick with the only option that makes sense.