A DEFENCE minister has reaffirmed the Government's backing for the Dreadnought submarine programme.

In a House of Lords debate on the future of the Trident nuclear programme, Baroness Goldie reassured the house there would not cut in funding for the Barrow-built Dreadnought programme.

It comes after the Government announced a £24 billion boost in defence spending.

Conservative peer Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton raised fears that money could be rerouted from the programme.

He said: "My Lords, as a timely reminder, the House of Commons voted relatively recently by a majority of 355 to effectively renew Parliament’s commitment to the nuclear deterrent by authorising the Dreadnought programme.

"With that in mind, the announcement of some £24.1 billion of extra funding for the Ministry of Defence is most welcome, but can my noble friend confirm that there has been no Treasury sleight of hand and a corresponding—or even any—reduction in the Dreadnought contingency fund?"

In response defence minister Baroness Goldie told the Lords: "I reassure my noble friend that the Dreadnought programme continues to run to schedule.

"As he will be aware, an overall budget of £31 billion, with the £10 billion contingency fund, has been allocated to it.

"The remaining allocation of funding is still to be determined within the MoD following the recent settlement."

BAE Systems is the industrial lead for the Dreadnought program and, alongside partners Rolls-Royce, are designing and constructing a new generation of submarines to carry the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.

Four Dreadnought-Class submarines will be built in Barrow to replace the Vanguard-Class that are currently in service with the Royal Navy. HMS Dreadnought, the first of the new fleet, is scheduled to be delivered in the early 2030s.

The Dreadnought programme already employs more than 7,000 people across MOD and industry, including 2,800 at BAE Systems.

Once built, the submarines will measure 152.9m long, with a displacement of 17,200 tonnes.