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Global military spending hits $2 trillion for the first time

British soldiers in training

Global military spending hits $2 trillion for the first time

In the last year, the world spent $2,113,000,000,000 on armed force, according to figures released today.

The statistics were published followed by analysis by academic researchers at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

They show that British military spending has passed £50 billion. It is twice as high per head of population as the EU average.

The UK now has the fourth highest military expenditure in the world – ahead of Russia. Only the USA, China and India spend more on the military than the UK. This finding of SIPRI confirms findings by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, who had already identified the UK as the world’s fourth highest military spender a year ago.

This follows Boris Johnson’s announcement in 2020 of a massive rise in British military spending. It was identified by Scientists for Global Responsibility as the highest percentage increase in UK military spending since the Korean War.

Recent weeks have seen a number of politicians attempting to use the crisis in Ukraine as an excuse for an even bigger increase in UK military spending.

But today, peace and human rights groups pointed out that a fraction of the cost of military spending could pay for real investment in renewable energy – thus ending reliance on Russian fossil fuels and weakening the Putin regime.

Military spending as deterrence has dramatically failed,” declared the organisations that make up the UK wing of the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS). They pointed out that in 2021 NATO spent more than 17 times as much on military budgets as Russia, but that this did not deter the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

They added, “Recent military spending increases by NATO countries, while framed as ‘taking tough action’, will do nothing to aid the suffering of the Ukrainian people, they will only further stoke arms industry profits”.

Greenpeace has called for a £10bn emergency fund in the UK this year to cut all Russian fossil fuels while combating fuel poverty and the climate crisis. This is less than a fifth of the current UK military budget.

Critics of military spending have taken to social media today, using the hashtag #GivePeaceABudget.

“Massive military expenditure failed to deter Putin’s aggression,” pointed out the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), one of the groups in the Global Campaign on Military Spending. “But some are naively calling for it to be raised even further. This would be to repeat a failed strategy that won't stop war. We need to Give Peace A Budget!”


Read the Peace Pledge Union’s updated briefing: 10 Truths About Military Spending & Recruitment.