As Scotland prepares to go to the polls, ICAN and 40+ organisations that have signed a letter to NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose to update the group’s defence sector policy to reflect that nuclear weapons are now prohibited. The call follows widespread condemnation of the UK government’s decision to increase the cap on the nuclear weapons in its stockpile by up to 40%.

ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn writes in The Herald, “Prosperity is not bought by nuclear bombs, nor by spending our money on weapons that are outlawed. NatWest has the chance to take concrete steps toward joining the Scottish people in building a responsible and sustainable future with investments in products and communities that build up our world, and avoiding weapons that risk ending it.”

It is not only Scotland that is in democratic deficit when it comes to nuclear weapons.Linda Pearson of Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland said “Recent polling shows that nearly two thirds of people in the UK want the government to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, while 77% support a total ban on nuclear weapons globally. NatWest Group should better reflect the values of its customers, and that means ending its support for the nuclear weapon industry”.

Clients (of RBS, NatWest or Ulster Bank) now have a unique opportunity to call on NatWest Group to change its defence policy to comprehensively exclude nuclear weapons. See the draft letter,for clients to reach out to their bank about this issue.

Global Investment advisor V.E, says “With the entry into force of the TPNW, national-level laws prohibiting the financing of companies producing nuclear weapons could become more widespread. Some financial institutions who divest from nuclear weapons already refer to the TPNW as a basis of their decision, arguing that nuclear weapons are banned under the TPNW.“


ICAN partners in the UK are set to analyse and respond to the UK Government’s Integrated Review of defence and foreign policy, and it seems that instead of continuing with the reduction in the number of warheads planned for the upgraded system (apparently made possible by the increase in lethality through greater accuracy in targetting the number of warheads) that number now seems set to rise.

This represents a complete disregard for the majority global support for moving towards elimination of nuclear weapons through support for and implementation of the TPNW, which entered into force and is legally binding on 51 UN member states, with others in process of ratification and committed to support.

Thanks to David Cullen at Nuclear Information Service for bringing this new situation to our attention as the and to ICAN who are flagging it up internationally.

A simple and quick way for all to to comment – as discussed in last week’s ICAN in the UK meeting – is to follow up on the advocacy letter sent to the UK Government in January.

Our MPs must ask why the UK is set on breaching the NPT which it lays out as the basis for its nuclear strategy.

In relation to the particular situation for Scotland, where the warheads are stored and based, this UK arrogance highlights the democratic deficit over nuclear weapons, and our frustration in being misrepresented as a country in the transnational community. This is not an issue only for the SNP, with Greens taking an even stronger anti nuclear position than the party of government and many other elected representatives and candidates standing for election in May fully supportive of the TPNW being adopted universally, and nuclear weapons eliminated everywhere.

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