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Truss and Wallace throw extra £52bn to armed forces despite tax cuts

UK troops in Estonia

Truss and Wallace throw extra £52bn to armed forces despite tax cuts

The Peace Pledge Union has called on 'Defence' Secretary Ben Wallace to explain how he will fund his promise of an extra £52bn for the UK armed forces.

Wallace made the pledge in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph yesterday (25 September) only days after the government promised unprecedented tax cuts, particularly for the wealthiest people in society.

The UK already has the fourth highest military spending in the world. As recently as 2020, during the second wave of the Covid pandemic, Boris Johnson implemented the highest increase in UK military spending since the Cold War. Prime Minister Liz Truss promised another massive increase during her campaign for the Conservative Party leadership.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), Britain's leading pacifist organisation, demanded to know where the money would come from.

They noted that Wallace had evaded questions about precisely how the money would be spent, and had refused to commit to increasing the number of army personnel - a regular demand of militarist politicians, commentators, and retired generals. The PPU pointed out that the army has failed for years to meet their existing recruitment targets.

Wallace backed Liz Truss' commitment to standing up to "authoritarian" regimes, but failed to comment on how this squares with the UK government's provisions of arms and military training to countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"Truss and Wallace of are throwing money into weapons and warfare without doing even the most basic maths to work out how to fund it," said Symon Hill, PPU Campaigns Manager. "They rightly condemn Putin's vicious aggression in Ukraine, but are happy to for UK armed forces to provide training to the Saudia forces committing similar atrocities in Yemen."

He added, "Despite trying to satifsy the militarist lobby, Wallace has refused to guarantee an increase in army personnel. He knows such a policy would not work as the army is struggling to meet even their existing recruitment targets. Most young people, thankfully, do not want to sign up to a life of unquestioning obedience to authority."

The Peace Pledge Union is a group of people who have pledged to resist war and to work against the causes of war. We are the British section of War Resisters' International. Join us!