One thing is certain, whatever the Chancellor of the Exchequer says, the British economy is being deprived of the investment it needs to grow and flourish, and that our society is being denied the funding it needs to ensure the health, welfare and happiness of its citizens.
It has always struck me as appalling that the government can find money for nuclear weapons and war when it denies that money is available to meet these very real social and human needs. Quite simply, our government’s priorities are wrong.
Over the past ten years, since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent financial crisis, every government has pursued brutal austerity policies that have attacked the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. Their narrative has been that we can’t afford to properly fund the NHS or provide proper living levels of welfare payments, yet at the same time the rich continue to get richer. The ‘super-rich’ are the blight of our time, and it is to the eternal shame of our government that they put these people’s interests above those of the British people. Clearly, the money is there, it is just going to the wrong place.
For a really shocking example of this, look no further than our government’s spending on nuclear weapons. In 2016, one of Mrs May’s first actions as prime minister was to push Trident replacement through parliament – thus allocating £205 billion of tax payers’ money to building and sustaining the Dreadnought class of nuclear submarines and their attendant missiles, warheads and paraphernalia. In short, £205 billion on weapons of mass destruction and not on our NHS, jobs, education and welfare. This spending is now under way.
In spite of these vast amounts of money, it appears they still can’t make ends meet. Recently the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee revealed the latest catalogue of Ministry of Defence incompetence and negligence. It warned that the infrastructure supporting the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and that MoD decisions to delay maintenance at its 13 nuclear sites had created a ‘ticking time bomb’.
This is just a disaster waiting to happen. But what we don’t want is yet more money being poured into this bottomless pit. It really is time for government to step away from nuclear weapons and release the funds to meet the needs of our society and all our communities. No one must be left behind in 21st century Britain. We call on our government to come clean on the economic reality facing our country and to prioritise the lives and wellbeing of all its citizens. It’s time for our government to recognise: People not Trident.