Boris Johnson has today announced £16.5 billion in new defence spending over the next four years, prioritising the projection of military power over combatting climate change and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. 

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: 

“Boris Johnson’s decision to approve the biggest increase in defence spending in decades shows that the Government is completely out of touch with the real threats to Britain’s security.

In the face of the climate emergency, the coronavirus pandemic, and a major economic downturn, the Government is spending billions on weapons systems and extending sabre-rattling to outer space. Instead of properly funding the NHS and fixing the test and trace disaster, Boris Johnson seems to have opted for a cold war tribute act.

The Government yesterday promised £12 billion to combat climate change, paling in comparison to the investments being made by other European countries. And now they are throwing £16.5 billion behind an outmoded attempt to project global military power.

Without doubt this budget increase will include additional spending on Britain’s nuclear weapons system, Trident, notably on new nuclear warheads.

Boris Johnson could choose to help ensure real security for Britain and for the planet by seriously tackling climate change, preparing for future pandemics, and joining a renewed global push for abolition of nuclear weapons.

By instead boosting spending on military posturing and weapons systems, he will help increase global tensions and escalate the risk of a new arms race.” 

On the announcement of a new ‘space command’ as part of the MoD funding package, CND Chair Dave Webb said: 

“The Government is clearly eager to play a role in the expected space boom. But its participation in  Operation Olympic Defender (the US-led international coalition) and the involvement of Lockheed Martin in establishing new space hubs in the UK both suggest the return of space as an arena for military confrontation and competition.

We should be pushing for strengthening the Outer Space Treaty – not working to further the militarisation of space.”