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A PEOPLE'S BUDGET FOR PEACE

How would you spend £4 billion of
public money every year ?

Scotland's for Peace are gathering proposals from organisations and individuals on how they think the money spent on nuclear weapons and overseas wars could be put to better use. This will be put together as a People's Budget for Peace.

Contributions:

Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien
Article 12 in Scotland

Midlothian Trades Union Council
T&G (Unite)
Jubilee Scotland
Scottish Refugee Council
Educational Institute of Scotland
Oxfam Scotland
Scottish Islamic Foundation
Quakers Scotland
Justice & Peace Scotland
Campaign Against the Arms Trade (Edinburgh)
Iona Community
Socialist Labour Party
Communist Part of Scotland
Liz Law
Margaret Thomson Davis
Chrissy Boyd
Mandy Meikle
Alasdair Hulbert
David Leslie
Pete Roche
Other contributions

Powerpoint presentation of responses (1.8 Mb pdf)

Church & Society Council of the Church of Scotland:


10 New High Schools
1000 New Homes
3000 New Teachers
1000 New Nurses
Tithe £34 million a year to international aid

Based on the Scottish proportion of Trident/war expenditure (£340 million)

Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien:

£4 billion would be better spent on anything that propsers life, rather than what threatens death. Specifically:

Spend it on improving the health and nutrition of our children.

Spend it on providing affordable housing to make up for the shortage of such at this present time.

Spend it on meeting our obligations and promises under the Millennium Development Goals.

Spend it on technology for life rather than for death.

Spend it on developing the science that stops us depending on fossil fuels.

Spend it on transport initiatives that take cars off the roads

Article 12 in Scotland:

Use the budget to meet the goals of the UK / Scotland's commitment to the millenium development goals:

Eradicating poverty and hunger
Acheive universal primary education
Promote gender equality and empower women
Reduce Child Mortality
Improve maternal health
Combat HIV/Aids and other diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
Develop a global partnership for development

Midlothian Trades Union Council:

Housing
Education
Health
Care of elderly
Transport

T&G (Unite):

1) Alternative social employment for defence workers
2) Investment in manufacturing and renewables
3) Investment in public services
4) Support for welfare benefits

Jubilee Scotland:

In order for the third world to fight poverty on its terms instead of paying unjust debts Jubilee Scotland call on the UK to use this money to:

- cancel all debt owed by the third world where those debts are preventing countries from meeting the basic needs of their people.

- cancel all debt that resulted from the export of arms by the UK government.

The UK government department the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) insures and guarantees risky deals to the third world inlcuding for arms, oil and big dam projects. These deals then become debt that is owed to the UK government. All loans that have had no benefit to the people must be immediatley cancelled!

Lift the Lid on Bad Loans!

Scottish Refugee Council:

£340 million would meet UNHCR's entire current shortfall for providing assistance to the 12.8 million refugees they assist around the world.

It costs around £10 million to resettle 500 long term refugees in the UK. Increasing this would ease the burden on some of the world's poorest countries such as Syria who currently host almost 2 million Iraqi refugees.

Educational Institute of Scotland:

100 New Schools
10,000 Additional Teachers
800,000 New Computers

Oxfam Scotland:

£4bn would plug the gap between the UK’s current aid spending and its promise (made in 1970) to commit 0.7% of Gross National Income to overseas development assistance, aid badly needed to enable poor countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals by providing schools and teachers, health centres and medical staff.

OR: Climate change is hitting poor people in developing countries first and hardest, even though they have least responsibility for its causes. Adaptation measures in developing countries will cost at least $50bn per year; the UK’s contribution to that could be drawn from a peace budget.

OR: The UK could use part of its own ‘peace dividend’ to invest in peace processes around the world, reduce the risk of conflict, and ensure the implementation of international humanitarian law.

Scottish Islamic Foundation:

Improving Scotland’s health. With some of the worst heart disease rates and with certain areas of Glasgow having a lower life expectancy than the Gaza strip resources are desperately needed to drastically improve our nation’s health.

We believe that the widening gap between the rich and poor is a root cause of many social ills. One way to improve this situation would be to increase the pay for those on the lowest income so families across the country have a decent standard of living.

There should also be a focus on eliminating child poverty in the UK – it is unacceptable that the number is increasing rather than decreasing. The current £1bn pledged is clearly not sufficient.

With the UK facing an increase in the population of elderly people the extra money should be used to make provisions for a decent pension for those in need.

In addition, the Scottish-Islamic Foundation believes that the money being spent on Trident could be better used to give more respite hours and provide breaks for both carers and those with disabilities. This may also include increasing disability allowance.

Climate change is one of the, if not the biggest challenge we face, something that will impact future generations to come for the rest of time unless we take responsibility now. The SIF strongly believes that by cultivating renewable energy resources we can be a world leader in tackling climate change.

There must be a concerted effort by Parliament to increase their international aid output. Universal primary education is a goal we should be aiming for and one that must be matched with appropriate resources.

Religious Society of Friends in Scotland (Quakers) :

The £4 billion shopping list would include:

1.Health -improved services especially for cancer patients and their families, so that reliance is not always on the voluntary sector for financial and emotional support which in turn relies on donations and government handouts. This is not good enough when so much is spent on weapons which potentially destroy life.Our wealth should be also used for medicines and vaccines to combat diseases in the 3rd world which we can treat easily.This is an injustice when TB and childhood diseases can be relatively cheaply prevented and cured.

2.Create Restorative Justice services which will help to reduce crime and bring justice to victims.

3. Affordable housing for all.

4. Widespread apprenticeship schemes to give our youth hope for the future and to build up skills which are being lost.

5.Anti slavery and human trafficking strategies and the resources to fight these inhumane practices.

There would be money left over to subsidise our rural post offices!

Pamala McDougall, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Justice and Peace Scotland :

Economic:

Non Violent Education

 Defence of the Realm:

What is the realm if not the land and its resources; the people, their wellbeing and flourishing? If an army truly marches on its stomach, surely the nation’s food and drink are at least as important.

And since information, the media and education are food for the mind...

Campaign Against the Arms Trade (Edinburgh):

Conversion of arms trade and Trident jobs in a phased way into civil industry (wave & tidal energy development; and recycling) with significant investment from the UK and Scottish Governments to kickstart activity
 
Investment in conflict resolution and prevention (training of skilled mediators) and putting peacebuilding on the national agenda 

Iona Community:

This £4 billion would be money not presently allocated and would offer a great opportunity to do life-enhancing, peace-making things such as:

1. Major investment in renewables and insulation for all homes

2. Decent affordable housing through housing associations etc to replace those lost through council house sales. This would enable us to properly address homelessness.

3. End fuel poverty

4. Proper funding for Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis and all the hard-pressed groups which support victims of domestic and public violence.

5. Include education in non-violent means of resolving conflict from an early age.

6. Invest properly in young people; new apprenticeships, ‘green’ employment opportunities, better and affordable facilities in inner-city, peripheral schemes and rural areas, especially in sports and the arts.

7. Voluntary sector funding for 'cinderella aspects' - rehabilitation of prisoners, especially young offenders, development of community alternatives to prisons, support for mental health services and destitute asylum seekers.

8. Arms conversion to alternative civic/green livelihoods.

9. 10% towards the Millennium Development Goals

Socialist Labour Party (Scotland):

The Socialist Labour Party is committed to turning "swords into ploughshares". We want to free the £ billions spent on Trident into rebuilding our National Health Service, education system, housing and guaranteed pensions in line with the agreement concluded in 1978.

We want to stop money being spent on the weaponry of death and mass destruction and use it instead to help restore a natural balance in the environment of which humans are only one element. We would cut defence expenditure by two-thirds, thereby saving £20 billion per year - money which could and should be spent on the NHS and care of the elderly thus saving and improving the quality of life, rather than building and using weapons designed to destroy life

Socialist Labour is committed to withdrawing from NATO. We do not agree with Britain's current military alliances that tie foreign policy to multi-national companies and governments that defend them. We oppose the concept of a European army or task force that can only exacerbate conflict and not resolve it.

We would end Britain's reliance on the evil arms trade and halt all production of instruments of torture. We would stop the sale of arms - this is a trade that deals in death. Instead, we would export equipment to help third world countries to help themselves maintain and improve the quality of life.

Communist Party of Scotland:

Preventative medicine programmes, eg prostate screening for men aged 55 and over
Extended programme of council house building at economic rents to let for both urban and rural areas
Progressive replacement of sub-standard school buildings
Free healthy school meals
Comprehensive training and apprenticeships scheme to get young people into meaningful work.

Liz Law :

Civil Peace Service - the entire sum could be spent on a world wide network of people trained in non violence and conflict resolution and the multitude of peace skills including good governance. This could be linked to a respected international organisation that has credibility and an infrastructure. The communities that are experiencing conflict could request unarmed intervention to support their own activities to create a peace appropriate for their culture.

Food Security - encouraging as many people as possible in Britain and throughout the developed world start growing some food. An idea that each garden or balcony produces anything from one years supply of potatoes for your family or all the parsley you need.

Food Security 2 - encouraging people of the South to have greater food security through permaculture - not paying off government debt which will encourage more arms spending but encourage people to grow a mixture of crops so that if one fails anther will not.

Pay off debts to foreign powers - a lot of thought is given to "protecting" Britain from war or aggression. No thought seems to be given to ensuring that Britain is not owned or in debt to other countries who have little obligation to people living in Britain.

Meet the Millenium Development Goals

Meet the Environmental Targets

Build an Environmental Friendly Transport System Give Everyone in Britain under 21 Free Bus Passes Give Everyone over 60 in Britain Free Bus Passes Integrate the transport systems so that if a train arrives there is a bus to meet it.

If there has to be an Army raise the minimum age for combat zones to 21 years.

If there has to be an Army ensure that people are not abandoned when they come out of the supported environment.

Encourage 50,000 more allotments across UK Clean up the contaminated land around Nuclear Power Stations, around Bombing Zones in North West Scotland, in areas where biological warfare has been tested and around former shipyards and Armed Forces land.

Margaret Thomson Davis:

Trident is costing billions of pounds. What else could be done with that money ? Our lives could be truly safer, yes safer, and our live could be transformed as a result. Centres could be set up in every area for young people to attend (no weapons allowed). They could be trained for useful or interesting work. Their time and attention could be focussed on games and entertainment during which different gangs could make friends instead of being fearful of one another and making self-defence teh excuse for carrying knives and ending up killing each other and other uninvolved people. There could also be classes available in the centres on alternatives to violence.

As it is, what examples do young people and everyone else have, when our rulers support projects that spend fortunes on wars and weapons of violence.

There's only one thing we can do to protect ourselvse and to protest at the moment. We must stand up and say - Not in my name !

Chrissy Boyd:

Local authority funding has been cut in the Highlands to independently run village halls. Some of the Trident money should be used to support village halls, which are vital to sustain rural communities.

Mandy Meikle:

I would spend £4bn a year on energy demand reduction. We need to localise energy systems and food production if we are to prepare for a future where energy is expensive and transportation of food around the world is no longer financially viable. All power stations using fossil fuels should be converted to capture and use the heat (or shut down!). All buildings should be insulated and capable of generating some or all of their electricity &/or heat. The Grid should be invested in to maximise local renewable input, as should public transport to get people out of their cars. The school curriculum should have understanding energy as a core topic, along with how to grow food. People should be helped to work from home where possible. For those who think this is idealistic claptrap, it will come. A low energy future will be imposed by nature so why not pull out heads out of the sand and start preparing for it while we still have a bit of time?

Alastair Hulbert:

Use the opportunity that abandoning the war budget offers to make sweeping changes in the financial management of the country, e.g.

Pay off some of the colossal debt the country is now in.

Raise taxes, and raise the lower level at which the poor pay taxes. Use this and other ways to reduce the widening gap between rich and poor.

Rethink transport.

Renationalize the railways and develop a railway system to match the French. This will take years: start now.

David Leslie:

Treble amounts spent on active travel (that's cycling and walking) infrastructure, and on building communities through participation in traditional music, song and dance.

That'll be a minute fraction of the £4 billion - the rest should be used to at last achieving the commitment made nearly 40 years ago to devote at least 0.7% of GNP toward development aid.

Pete Roche:

Help the Aged and Friends of the Earth launched a high court judicial review last week to force the UK Government to live to its promise, made in 2000, to eradicate fuel poverty. The Government is legally bound to abolish fuel poverty by 2016 and to eliminate it among the most vulnerable households by 2010.

Households in fuel poverty are defined as those in which more than 10% of income is spent on energy. In 2006 3.5million UK households were in this precarious situation, and the numbers are bound to rocket this winter. Help the Aged and Friends of the Earth reckon that as many as 5m households, many of them pensioners, now face a stark choice of "heat or eat". But it’s not just a question of going a little cold, according to the NHS at least eight old people are dying every hour due to cold related illnesses in the winter months.

And figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats this week show that 80% of single pensioners are likely to be living in fuel poverty this winter. Liberal Democrat Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Steve Webb, called this a scandal. “The Government must greatly accelerate the pace of getting homes insulated”, he said, “it is criminal that there are millions of draughty homes in need of insulation and thousands of unemployed construction workers, yet the Government has not put the two together on the scale that is needed.”

Here in Scotland, the Scottish Greens are urging the SNP Government to bring in free home insulation for all Scots, plus free energy assessments and money to help install green energy. The need is substantial. It was estimated that 650,000 Scots were in fuel poverty last year, and numbers will almost certainly have risen since then. [2] The Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum recently confirmed that we need a step change in the energy efficiency of our homes if we are going to tackle fuel poverty and climate change, and a radical shift in investment as soon as possible if the Scottish Government is to reach its target of ending fuel poverty in Scotland by 2016 as required by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. [3] If the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Milliband, is really serious about reducing the UK’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 we are going to have to implement a massive energy efficiency programme in any case. 80% of the houses we will inhabit in 2050 are already built, so emissions from these buildings will need to be cut by at least the same amount. Yet current plans expect an entirely inadequate contribution from the domestic sector. Heat loss from the existing 25 million dwellings will need to be halved and around 600,000 microgeneration schemes, such as solar panels, will need to be installed every year for the next 42 years, rather than the paltry 121,000 expected in the next three years. [4] The sooner we start, the more lives we will save, and the cheaper it will be.

WWF estimate that ending fuel poverty in Scotland will cost more than £500m a year until 2020. The Scottish Government and Scottish local government already spend an estimated £235m a year in this area, and both private sector and European funding is also available. [5] To achieve what is needed to tackle fuel poverty and climate change, right across the UK, £4bn a year could just about do it. Trident versus 8 old people dying every hour every winter – not much of a choice really.

[1] Guardian 6th October 2008

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/oct/06/householdbills.e