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Military leaders make power grab with call for higher spending on war

British soldiers in training

Military leaders make power grab with call for higher spending on war

'Defence' Secretary Ben Wallace and army boss Patrick Sanders have called for further increases in military spending.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), Britain's leading pacifist network, said that increasing military spending would not help people in Ukraine, prevent future wars or make anyone in the UK any safer. They added that the only thing the policy would protect would be the profits of arms dealers.

They accused Wallace and Sanders of insulting the British public by finding money for war during a cost-of-living crisis, and insulting the people of Ukraine by using their suffering in cynical attempt to push for more money and status for the military in the UK.

Wallace today called for UK military expenditure to increase by around 25% by 2028. This morning's Daily Telegraph reported that Sanders also want to see increased military spending. Sanders had already made this view clear immediately after becoming Chief of the General Staff earlier this month, when he said that the British army should be equipped to "defeat Russia".

The UK already has the fourth highest military spending in the world, according to calculations by academic researchers at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published two months ago. In November 2020, in the middle of the Covid pandemic, Boris Johnson announced the highest percentage increase in UK military spending since the Korean War.

The PPU pointed out that the UK government and other NATO members have poured billions of pounds into military spending in recent year, which failed to stop Putin’s vile invasion of Ukraine. Neither Wallace nor Sanders have explained why they think that putting even more billions into armed force would prevent future wars.

As the British section of War Resisters' International, the PPU has remained in contact with peace activists in Russia and Ukraine since Putin's invasion began in February. The PPU has consistently condemned the invasion, supported Russian peace campaigners, welcomed news of Russian soliders refusing to fight and applauded mass non-co-operation by Ukrainians in areas occupied by Russian troops. They have also supported Ukrainians who have refused to take up arms, despite Zelensky's attempts to turn all male civilians into soldiers.

The PPU, like a number of organisations in many countries, insists that there can be no military solution to the problems in Ukraine.

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

"Ministers who object to a decent pay rise for rail workers have barely paused for breath before calling for a whopping increase in the billions spent on weapons and war. If you’re queueing at a food bank, anxious about heating bills or unable to buy toys for your children, then your life will not be made safer or better by an increased budget for long-range rocket artillery.

"Despite Boris Johnson announcing a sharp rise in military spending less than two years ago, this has not satisfied the militarist lobby, whose appetite grows by what it feeds on. However much money and status they are offered, they keep demanding more.

Ben Wallace and Patrick Sanders are cynically using the appalling war in Ukraine as an opportunity for a power-grab, calling for higher military spending and trying to drum up support for war. This is a massive insult to people suffering in Ukraine."


Peace Pledge Union members pledge to resist war and to tackle its causes. We are pacifist, not passive. Join us!