This week the UK government has announced an additional £5 billion of military spending over two years in the context of the Integrated Review Refresh. This takes UK military spending up to 2.2% of GDP this year, with a ‘new aspiration’ to reach 2.5%.
£3 billion of the increase will go to the ‘defence nuclear enterprise’, including spending on submarines and ‘supporting the delivery of AUKUS’, the trilateral agreement between Australia, the UK and US which aims to provide nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. The remaining £2 billion is for replenishing military stockpiles and improving the UK’s ‘munitions infrastructure’.
Responding to the announcements, CND General Secretary, Kate Hudson said, “The government keeps telling us that there is no magic money tree, yet there is always money found for nuclear weapons; spending billions on the military whilst millions of public sector workers are desperately trying to deal with the cost of living crisis.
“The consequences of the government’s increasing militarism goes far beyond our borders.
“In supporting the US’s confrontational military strategy towards China through the AUKUS agreement, the UK government is putting millions of lives at risk. Such action can only lead to deepening global instability.
“This government is not sufficiently addressing the climate emergency; instead it is adding to it by spending heavily on weapons which not only kill but have a substantial and unaddressed carbon bootprint.
“We have yet to see what the Spring Budget will bring to support UK citizens. But what the recent announcements show is that decisions to support working people and to help broker peace globally, leading to peace and prosperity, have not been made. The government instead has made the political choice to follow a path of weapons, confrontation and war.”
Photo credit: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street