Counting the UK nuclear weapons money outside the Ministry of Defence

by Karen Robinson ~ November 13th, 2019. Filed under: News.

Count the money we spend on nuclear weapons – and divert it to saving our climate

On Saturday 26 October we counted £5.2 billion outside the Ministry of Defence – the amount of money the UK spends on its nuclear weapons programme in a year.  £5.2 billion (i.e. £5,200,000,000) is such a huge amount of money it is difficult to visualise or comprehend.  We physically counted this sum of money outside the Ministry of Defence in protest at the UK’s ownership of nuclear weapons and this terrible use of taxpayers’ money.  We demanded that the £5.2 billion is spent instead on addressing the climate emergency.

Each note was worth £500,000.  We counted 10,400 x £500,000 notes.  We counted for hours.  There were two or three people counting at any one time.  With the massive Ministry of Defence building towering over us, it was a sobering experience.  The notes started in a briefcase marked ‘Nuclear Weapons’.  They were counted on the table and put into £10 million batches.  The batches were then placed in a crate marked ‘Trees’.

Huge thanks to all who joined us; folk from Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War and our colleagues from the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF-UK), Right to Refuse to Kill, and Labour CND.  People counted and then often chose to share why they were there in a short video.  We will be creating a new page on this website to gather together photos and videos of the action.

Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War organised this action as the London companion event to the international Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action which took place in New York throughout UN Disarmament Week (24-30 October);

At the international action in New York they counted $1 trillion – the amount being spent to modernise the nuclear arsenals of nine countries over the next 10 years.  They counted the $1 trillion by hand, in $1 million dollar notes.  It took them 7 days and 7 nights.

The international campaign, ‘Move the Nuclear Weapons Money’, has posted the following blog about our London companion event:

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