24/03/2022 |

Reducing UK Carbon Emissions vs. UK Military Spending

This article was originally published in Global Campaign on Military Spending – UK

By Dr. Stuart Parkinson

  • The UK government’s Spring Statement announced that its core budget for the military, for the four years 2021-25, has been slightly increased from that given its Autumn Budget to £190.9 billion.1 The increase is £0.4bn,2 which includes £0.1bn of military aid (to date) for Ukraine.
  • This expenditure level follows the largest increase in military spending in 70 years, announced in November 2020 by the Prime Minister.3
  • No updated spending figures were announced for the overseas aid (Official Development Assistance) budget or the Net Zero Strategy. Hence, there is no revision to our estimates from October 2021 that the core military budget is more than 4 times the overseas aid budget (£45.5bn) and more than 7 times the spending on the Net Zero Strategy (£25.6bn) over this four-year period.4
  • Costings for other measures that affect carbon emissions were also published, including:
    • Reducing VAT on home energy saving measures from 5% to 0%, at an annual cost of approximately £0.05bn.5 This will help to decrease emissions.
    • Energy Bills Support Scheme, including grants and loans for households to reduce fuel bills, which will cost nearly £9.1bn in the first year, with half of that to be recouped from consumers in the following four years.6 This will help to increase emissions.
    • Reducing fuel by 5p per litre for one year, which will cost £2.4bn.7 This will help to increase emissions.

1 Calculated from figures on pp.17-18 of: HM Treasury (2022). Spring Statement 2022. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spring-statement-2022-documents Note all figures are undiscounted costs.

2 Comparison with earlier figures summarised in: GCOMS-UK (2021). Briefing points on the UK Autumn Budget and Spending Review. https://demilitarize.org.uk/gcoms-uk-briefing-points-on-the-uk-autumn-budget-and-spending-review/

3 As described in: GCOMS-UK (2021)

4 As described in: GCOMS-UK (2021)

5 P.10 of: HM Treasury (2022). Spring Statement 2022: Policy Costings.

6 P.9 of: HM Treasury (2022). Spring Statement 2022: Policy Costings. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spring-statement-2022-documents

7 P.8 of: HM Treasury (2022). Spring Statement 2022: Policy Costings.