Sturgeon’s comments come as the Conservative chancellor visited the Faslane nuclear base on Monday.
“This is a decision by the chancellor to try to pre-empt parliament’s decision on the replacement of Trident that is arrogant in the extreme,” Sturgeon said in a statement.
“If the chancellor’s got £500 million [$770 million] to spend then I think he’d be better advised to spend it on health, education, giving young people the best start in life and reversing his cruel attacks on the most vulnerable.”
The SNP’s Westminster defense spokesman Brendan O’Hara echoed Sturgeon’s view in a blog on the party’s website.
“With the UK government facing a United Nations probe over its cuts to support for disabled people, George Osborne has his priorities all wrong,” O’Hara said.
“Indeed, George Osborne is essentially pre-empting a vote and actual decision on renewal of Trident.
“There is something fundamentally wrong with Westminster’s values and priorities if the chancellor thinks wasting billions on nuclear weapons is something to boast about when people are dying within our benefits system,” he added.
The SNP wants Britain’s nuclear weapons removed from Scotland. Its MPs are expected to vote to that effect when a replacement nuclear missile system is proposed next year.
In a statement ahead of his Scotland visit, Osborne pledged the funding for the project, featuring “ship lifts, sea walls, jetties and other major projects,” to take place over the next 10 years.
The announcement “demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to investing in the infrastructure and capability to ensure that Faslane remains the center of UK submarine operations for the next generation,” Osborne said.