CAMPAIGNERS HAVE CONDEMNED the government’s Integrated Review Refresh, calling it a “wasted opportunity to address the security threats we face.”
The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), said the review “pours fuel on the fire” of global security threats, further inflaming tensions with Russia and China.
The Integrated Review announced a £5 billion rise in military spending and promises to increase ammunition, modernise the UK’s nuclear weapons operation and advance the AUKUS nuclear submarines programme.
Its release follows weeks of pressure from Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and others for increased military spending to address ‘serial underinvestment’ in the armed forces. The PPU has accused Wallace of scaremongering, pointing out that the UK’s military spending is already the 4th highest in the world, after the USA, China and India.
The announced increase comes on top of the recent £24 billion boost in military spending in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, which was the largest increase in seventy years.
The PPU has also accused the government of using Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine to further its own military spending agenda. “The UK government seems intent on inflaming global tensions”, said Geoff Tibbs, Remembrance Project Manager at the PPU, “at a time when nuclear escalation is a very real possibility.”
“They are using Putin’s aggression to justify sky-high military spending and boost the UK’s ‘warfighting capabilities’ – but this will only deepen international tensions and deter peace negotiations. The UK’s military budget is already higher than Russia’s”, he added, “and NATO’s outstrips Russia’s seventeen to one. This did nothing to deter Putin’s war crimes.”
Since the start of the war, the PPU has consistently condemned the Russian invasion and supported both Russian and Ukrainian peace activists. They have called for a ceasefire and urgent peace talks to end the bloodshed.
The PPU points out that, when introducing the Integrated Review in parliament, the Foreign Secretary failed to reference the climate crisis and the grave threat it represents. Geoff Tibbs said: “This defence review doesn’t just fail to deal with climate breakdown, it exacerbates it. The military is a leading source of carbon emissions, both in the UK and worldwide. Responding to the climate catastrophe by increasing military spending only makes climate-related conflict more likely and diverts funding from where it’s badly needed, such as green investment.”
Research by the Transnational Institute, published in November 2022, found that the world’s richest countries are spending 30 times as much on the military as on climate finance. The Institute says: “Every dollar spent on the military not only increases greenhouse gas emissions, but also diverts financial resources, skills and attention away from tackling one of the greatest existential threats humanity has ever experienced.”
The Peace Pledge Union is the British section of War Resisters’ International, which brings together pacifists and anti-militarists around the world. The PPU’s sibling organisations include the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement and the Russian Movement for Conscientious Objectors.
* Read the Government announcement of the 2023 Integrated Review Refresh here.
* Read the Government announcement of the new fleet of AUSUK nuclear submarines here.
* Climate Collateral: How military spending accelerates climate breakdown from the Transnational Institute, is available to download here.