TORY Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been accused of “throwing more good money at bad projects” after he announced a £400 million investment for the UK’s nuclear submarine programme.

The Ministry of Defence said the funding will safeguard more than 8000 jobs across the UK.

But the SNP claimed it was money that could have been better spent on the conventional armed forces.

The money comes from the extra £1 billion given to defence in the autumn Budget, but there are fears the submarines investment could mean cuts in other parts of the MoD.

The National Audit Office recently warned of a £15bn funding black hole in the MoD’s 10-year defence equipment programme.

Yesterday’s injection is the second this year. The Treasury found an extra £600m for the programme in May.

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Williamson made the announcement during a visit to BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, where he was opening a £25m academy to “upskill” the firm’s employees to work on Royal Navy submarines for the next two decades.

He said: “Next year marks half a century since British nuclear-armed submarines began patrolling the waters in response to the danger posed by the Cold War – and the world is again facing a raft of intensifying threats. This £400m investment will ensure the Dreadnought programme remains on track, so we continue to have a nuclear deterrent at sea for decades to come.

“Not only does today’s news see us safeguard 8000 jobs right now, but I have also opened a brand new multi-million-pound facility to train Britain’s submarine engineers of the future.”

But SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald said there were more “pressing items” needing MoD investment.

“Again the MoD is throwing more good money at bad projects. This obsession with the Dreadnought programme provides no value for money for the taxpayer, and there are much more pressing items that the MoD should be prioritising it’s spending on,” he said.

He added: “Instead of offering anything to the armed forces in his speech, the Defence Secretary has decided to prioritise the broken Dreadnought programme – with this spending just adding to the ever increasing ‘affordability gap’.

“We in the SNP have been clear that the conventional armed forces deserve better.

“The spending on the Dreadnought programme is becoming more and more unusable and unaffordable, and the MoD should instead be looking at giving conventional defence and armed personnel the funding it needs to match the modern day threats and challenges that the UK faces.”

Four Dreadnought submarines are being built to replace the Vanguard-class vessels that currently host the Trident nuclear deterrent.

The new submarines, due to come into service in 2028, are set to cost £31bn across their lifetime.

Williamson also announced that the second Dreadnought submarine would be named HMS Valiant, after the Royal Navy’s 1963 nuclear-powered submarine.

Launched in 1963, that submarine took part in the Navy’s first tactical exercise under the Arctic ice.

She also saw service during the Falklands War.