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£10bn extra for army would be an insult in cost-of-living crisis

PPU chair Peter Glasgow with a placard reading 'Nurses Not Nukes'

£10bn extra for army would be an insult in cost-of-living crisis

Britian's leading pacifist organisation has slammed suggestions that the army should be given an extra £10bn in next month's budget.

The alleged plan was reported today by the Daily Express, who quoted Tory MPs claiming that the amount should be even higher.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) pointed out that the UK already has the fourth highest military expenditure in the world. They said that throwing billions more into the army would make nobody any safer and only make war more likely.

They described the plan as an insult to people struggling to pay for food and heating bills at a time when the NHS is underfunded and Rishi Sunak claims that there is no money to prevent real-terms pay cuts for nurses, teachers and paramedics.

The PPU also pointed out that Boris Johnson's increase in military spending in 2020 failed to deter Putin's aggression in Ukraine two years later.

Ironically, the news comes on the same day that the chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has said that the war in Ukraine will not be settled militarily and will end at the negotiating table.

Recent days have seen a series of spats between generals and politicians over whether the UK government has "enough" troops to fight Russian forces. But the PPU said that troop numbers would be irrelevant in a war between nuclear-armed states, which could destroy much of the world.

The PPU demonstrated against military spending last week outside the Ministry of 'Defence' and other locations. Next week, the PPU will join demonstrations calling for real negotiations over Ukraine and support for Russian anti-war activists.

Symon Hill, Campaigns Manager of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), said:

"With the cost-of-living crisis, people are dying from cold, from poverty. These are real deaths happening now, not hypothetical deaths from a future war. If 'defence' means anything, it includes defending people from poverty and illness - both in the UK and around the world. If you're struggling to pay the bills, your life won't be made more secure by a larger army with more weapons.

"The UK already has the fourth highest military spending in the world. British troops are almost always deployed in a subservient role to the USA. However well-intentioned individual soldiers may be, the army does not defend democracy or the British people. As we speak, British troops are training the Saudi forces who are bombing civilians in Yemen in much the same way that Russian forces are killing civilians in Ukraine.

"Boris Johnson threw billions more into the military budget three years ago, but the build-up of weapons in eastern Europe failed to deter Putin's vile aggression in Ukraine. It is grossly irresponsible to argue about whether the UK government has enough troops to defeat Russian forces. A war between nuclear-armed states could destroy most of the world's population in a matter of hours. Politicians should be working to prevent a global or nuclear war, not imagining that anyone could win it. You can no more win a war than win an earthquake."

The PPU has consistently condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and supported anti-war activists in Russia. They have called for a ceasefire and real peace talks, with support for the Russian anti-war movement to put pressure on Putin.

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.

The Peace Pledge Union is a group of people who have pledged to take no part in war and instead to tackle the causes of war. We are the British section of War Resisters' International. Join us!