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Government's Defence Review only exacerbates the threats we face

UK nuclear submarine

Government's Defence Review only exacerbates the threats we face

Campaigners have condemned the government’s Integrated Review Refresh 2023, calling it a “wasted opportunity to address the security threats we face.” 

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), the UK’s leading pacifist organisation, 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 submarine 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 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. 

Introducing the Integrated Review to parliament, the Foreign Secretary failed to acknowledge the climate crisis and the grave threat it represents. 

Geoff Tibbs from the PPU 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.” 

The Peace Pledge Union is a group of people who have pledged to resist war and to tackle its causes. Join us here!