Page 4, 30th July 1993

30th July 1993
Page 4
Page 4, 30th July 1993 — Cut Defence, not the Welfare System
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Cut Defence, not the Welfare System

RECENT GOVERNMENT

announcements on the need to reduce the budget deficit by targeting Housing Benefits, Invalidity, and Sickness benefits and whatever else remains of the Welfare system, has made me realise that there must be many more 'dead loss' situations that could be made more cost effective, with just a bit more imagination.

A prime candidate on any list should be the £26 billion Defence budget.

Many people now consider that to continue to spend scarce resources on a policy of nuclear deterrence without any conceivable, let alone justifiable target is absurd.

If ever an injustice deserved opposition this is it, it deserves to be abolished because; the poor are being robbed, the environment is being threatened, the future is being gambled, and we are being swindled out of billions every year in return for what?

A threat, which in all probability never existed, from the former eastern block countries, who are now desperately trying to find ways of disposing of what remains of their nuclear arsenal, while we continue to replenish and even increase ours, attempting to maintain a nuclear posture at the expense of public and personal squalor.

The much publicised Defence Review whilst giving early retirement to some members of the armed forces and merging a few regiments has failed to halt the escalation of the Defence Budget to its present level of £26 billion. Can we not begin to face the unpalatable (to some) truth that we do not need to continue the search for more cuts amongst the under-privileged and needy when the resources needed are being wasted on the corpse of a policy, whose life (death) support system should have been switched off years ago.

And to where do we look for any opposition to this nightmarish policy of preparation for global destruction: the Labour Party? the United Nations? the Churches? Sadly and unbelievably the answer from those institutions is a continuous, deafening silence.

Is it that no answers are forthcoming because no questions are being asked? Then perhaps its time to ask once again: who is meant to be deterred, and from what? Why does Britain, along with China, continue to refuse to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty? What has happened to the "so called Peace Dividend"? Why do we exclude nuclear weapons from the Governments continuing obsession with cost-benefit scrutiny of public spending?

Many people have always considered the abolition of nuclear weapons a moral imperative of the highest order, we should now be adding to that; an economic imperative, that we just cannot find the resources to pay for them, and to look for further cuts from the welfare services in order to balance the budget is to compound the sin.

John Kerrigan Liverpool




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