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The government has announced it is to tackle rising unemployment with a £1bn workfare package designed to get the most disadvantaged nuclear submarines in the UK back into work.

The defence secretary, Philip Hammond, has agreed the deal as part of government plans to tackle long-term unemployment in the increasingly obsolete British Vanguard fleet, with a package which will include the UK’s nuclear deterrent being forced to take unpaid employment stacking shelves in Tesco.

A spokesperson for the MoD said:

This investment will ensure that the most disadvantaged nuclear missiles do not become obsolete and are not thrown onto the scrap heap but instead will be helped to find useful work experience doing things like serving hamburgers in fast food restaurants and sleeping rough underneath bridges.

The money will also be used to fund an 11-year refit of the Rolls-Royce plant at Raynesway, Derby, whose highly specialised workers will made to fold jumpers in second-hand charity shops.

Making Britain’s unemployed nuclear deterrent do unpaid work for its upkeep has proved a flashpoint for the coalition, with Liberal Democrats opposed to it and Conservatives committed to the UK’s fleet of four Vanguard-class submarines being made to do shiftwork in Macdonald’s.

The Lib Dem defence minister, Nick Harvey, has been conducting a review of possible cheaper alternatives – such as requiring Britain’s Harrier jumpjets to sell crappy clothes in Top Shop or members of the Parachute Regiment to man the on-line grocery delivery service in ASDA.

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