Campaigners from Scotland have proposed an alternative budget, which does not include spending on nuclear weapons, to the UK Chancellor, Alistair Darling. They argue that that there are massive savings to be made.
Members of the network Scotland's for Peace took their case to Mr Darling's office in Edinburgh on Monday 20 April, three days ahead of today's major tax and spend review.
The group, who include public sector workers, churches and disarmament organisations, used red boxes, similar to the one Mr Darling used for today's official 2009 budget, to make their point.
Scotland's for Peace gathered proposals from a wide range of organisations and individuals, looking at ways in which money spent on nuclear weapons and overseas wars could be put to better use.
Contributors included the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, Catholic Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, Article 12 in Scotland, Midlothian Trades Union Council, T&G (Unite), Jubilee Scotland, the Scottish Refugee Council, the Educational Institute of Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, the Scottish Islamic Foundation, Quakers Scotland, Justice & Peace Scotland, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (Edinburgh), and the Iona Community.
The network explained: "The British Government is spending £4 billion every year on the Trident nuclear missile system and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"At a time when food prices are soaring and the economy is sinking into a recession, we would like to come together to express our dissatisfaction at this misuse of funds.
"The People’s Budget for Peace will highlight how this money can be better used to move towards a culture of peace in Scotland. "
The Scotland's for Peace website added: "Next year we will be spending £2 billion a year on Trident - almost twice as much as five years ago. We in Britain spend at least another £2 billion a year conducting the disastrous and unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most Scots think the money should be spent instead on tackling poverty and climate change. Scotland's share of that money would be £340 million a year - enough to support at least 10,000 new public service jobs."
Scotland's for Peace: http://www.scotland4peace.org/
Follow budget responses from church, development and green sources on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/Budget_2009