In response to the news that the UK government will be increasing its nuclear arsenal, the Iona Community reaffirms its commitment to total nuclear disarmament.
It has been announced that the cap on the UK’s nuclear stockpile will be increased by more than 40%, taking the limit from 180 warheads to 260. This marks the end of the gradual disarmament since the end of the Cold War, and would be a clear breach of our obligations under international law as signatories of the NPT (Nuclear non-proliferation treaty 1968) which committed us to no increase in our nuclear arsenal.
Instead of investing a further expected £40 billion (£30 billion plus a £10 billion contingency), we call on the government to invest in global security by contributing to constructive and cooperative programmes to achieve greater justice and peace, particularly in post-pandemic times, rather than investing in an increase in weapons of mass destruction.
This news to further invest in deadly weapons comes shortly after the government announced the cutting of the UK’s aid budget from 0.75% to 0.55% of national income (on grounds of unaffordability) which is already having a serious effect in countries like Yemen, places which are deep in conflict and instability, and facing humanitarian crises.
Nuclear weapons are a complete contradiction to the values of peacemaking, reconciliation and justice, love and compassion, which are at the heart of the gospel. As a community, we believe that the production, possession, use or threatened use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is theologically and morally indefensible and that opposition to their existence is an imperative of the Christian faith.
We are called, and call you also, to seek peace and pursue it.