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‘You can't nuke a virus’: Ministers urged to divert military budget to tackle pandemic

PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson was urged today to reallocate military spending towards the NHS, social care and community support for people affected by the coronavirus.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) accused the government of endangering the public by “wasting money on preparations for war while doing little to prepare for real threats” such as climate change or pandemics.

Britain has the seventh-highest military budget in the world. 

In 2018, the National Security Capability Review listed major outbreaks of disease as one of the most likely threats facing Britain.

Pandemics were also identified as a risk by the Strategic Defence and Security Reviews in 2010 and 2015.

Public-health researcher and PPU member Ceri Dare said: “We could be facing this crisis, which the government’s own assessments told us was coming, with the weapons we truly needed to win: a resilient NHS, local councils funded to fulfil their responsibilities in public health, social care for disabled and older people. 

“We could have had a society where the people who make our lives possible — the cleaners, the shelf-stackers, the waste collectors, the social-care workers, the delivery drivers — were paid and respected for the vital work they do.

“Instead of this, we are armed only with the useless weapons of war. We cannot battle our way out of a pandemic with bombs and guns.”

PPU campaigns manager Symon Hill said: “In this crisis, everyone needs support from others — some especially so. This costs money.

“The government can still divert funds away from multi-million-pound weapons and Nato training exercises. You can’t nuke a virus.”

The PPU said that such changes should “mark the beginning of a permanent shift” in funding away from armed force and towards measures which “really make people safe.”

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