Massive UK military spending hike does nothing for real security, experts warn

UK Navy in Ukraine
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The UK government have proposed a n £11bn defence spending boost. However, Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) have stated that the hike will not provide security. Meanwhile, the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) have said that the figure is outrageous in a cost-of-living crisis.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that the hike would come into play over the next five years. His aim is to take the UK’s percentage of GDP spent on defence higher, in order to align with NATO requirements.

However, critics wasted no time attacking the new plans. Pacifist group PPU said ammunition and submarines did nothing for those in poverty:

Much of the increase is expected to be spent on military equipment, all while millions struggle with the cost of living.

Climate change

PPU said that the news made Tory commitments on climate change look hollow:

while successive government security reviews have all listed climate change as a security priority, ministers have continued to ignore this and increasingly equate security with preparations for war.

PPU spokesperson Jonathon Maunder called for a “real budget for security”:

Read on...

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The increasingly visible effects of climate change act as a reminder that weapons cannot keep us safe. The Covid-19 vaccine response showed up us what can happen when people around the world work together for common aims and the climate emergency should be no different.

Defence budget

Scientist campaigners from SGR listed reasons why the new budget would not deliver security particularly, in respect to Russia and Ukraine. They pointed out that NATO already had a bigger military budget than Russia. Additionally, only a small part of the budget would be going to help Ukraine’s war against Russian occupation.

They also warned that current defence spending was at odds with the UK’s real needs. They said public services are breaking down, and real global security was about addressing climate change and poverty.

SGR director Dr Stuart Parkinson said:

In summary, the justifications for an increase in the UK’s military budget are weak – given the recent huge rises in funding for British armed forces, the lack of convincing military arguments, and the urgent, life-saving potential of alternative spending options in healthcare, overseas aid, and environmental protection.

Clearly, rather than play to NATO or our allies in the US, the UK needs to take a serious approach to war and insecurity. This requires a clear-headed approach to defence spending whilst addressing people’s actual day-to-day needs. Most importantly, we need an approach that doesn’t just hand money to arms firms.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/MOD, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under Open Government Licence.

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