Conscientious Objection to War through taxes
Almost 10% of all your taxes, including VAT, go to the military. In 2003 that was £37 billion, ten times more than what we spent on international development.
Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system costs us £1.5 billion per year.
A group called 'Conscience' campaigns for the legal rights of those who conscientiously object to war to be able to spend the military part of their taxes on peacebuilding initiatives.
The right to refuse military service has been recognised in the UK since 1916. This right to conscientious objection is recognised by the UN as a basic human right. And yet we still have to support the military with our taxes.
We may not have to fight ourselves, but our taxes pay for weapons and the soldiers who weild them on our behalf. We supported the Iraq war, Trident nuclear missiles and the arms trade with our taxes! This is financial conscription with no means to object.
Modern wars are no longer fought with conscript armies, but with high-tech weapons paid for with our taxes.
There should be an 'alternative financial service' for the military part of our taxes. The money could go to a non-military security fund, used to help prevent and resolve conflicts. It would fund peace-keeping operations. Thus, everyone could still contribute to society's defence according to their conscience.
We should have the democratic right to choose how our taxes are spent. Rather than funding the military we should be able to support peacekeepers, projects that research the roots of conflict and work that strengthens arms regulations to prevent arms flowing into areas of conflict. Arms need to be better regulated and controlled and defence money would be well used in supporting this.
Essentially money should be spent on understanding the reasons and complexities behind conflicts rather than pouring money into 'false security' through developing more weapons.
Some objectors to the current system refuse to pay tax until receiving an assurance that it will not be used for military purposes. This is illegal. The Inland Revenue will insist on payment and instigate court action. In rare cases the objectors have been declared bankrupt or imprisoned.
A group called 'Conscience' believes that a 'Peace Tax Return' should be attatched to every Inland Revenue form, offering people the option of choosing how their defense taxes are spent.
To join the campaign for an optional Peace Tax and the right to conscientious objection, please visit –