Greens condemn Scottish Government investment given to weapons companies

Ross Greer said that the world's largest arms dealers receiving this money was 'genuinely sickening'.
Ross Greer said that the world's largest arms dealers receiving this money was 'genuinely sickening'.
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The Greens have condemned investment from the Scottish Government which has been given to some of the world's top weapons companies.

According to the party, almost £20 million has been provided to weapons firms since the SNP took over as Scotland's governing party in 2007, through the Government's commercial arm Scottish Enterprise.

Raytheon, the third biggest arms company in the world, Chemring and Leonardo were all recipients of the funding.

However, the Scottish Government refutes the accusation made by the Greens, saying the funding is used for the firms to find "non-military application for their technology".

Raytheon - which has a factory in Fife - was implicated in a bombing which killed 40 Yemeni children last year. The company provided guided missiles to the Saudi regime.

Leonardo has provided equipment for the Turkish armed forces and Chemring, which has an Ayrshire site, reportedly provided tear gas used to quell protests in Hong Kong and Egypt.

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Leonardo has received almost £19 million since 2007, while Chemring has been handed just over £196,000 and Raytheon received £200,000.

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens' external affairs spokesman, said: "To see the world's largest arms dealers receive this money whilst simultaneously arming brutally oppressive regimes is genuinely sickening.

"This has happened during every single year of the SNP's time in office, leaving their claims to be a 'rights-respecting Government' in tatters.

"Instead of using this public money on public services, or to support many of the thousands of small businesses who need help, they are handing it over to multibillion-dollar arms dealers who clearly do not need public subsidy.

"Meanwhile, the new Westminster Government has even more responsibility here. The UK Department for Trade has given direct support to these companies, specifically so they can identify new markets and sell more weapons.

"It supports arms fairs that connect these companies with oppressive regimes. And of course, even after losing a court case, they continued authorising arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

"The civil service and government agencies, both at a UK and Scotland level, have far too cosy a relationship with arms dealers, as do Scottish and UK ministers.

"If we want to stop being part of the problem, we need to stop the direct support and subsidy to those who arm human rights abusing regimes across the world."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The export of arms is the responsibility of the UK Government, and we expect them to properly police such exports and to properly investigate any concerns raised.

"The Scottish Government does not provide funding for the manufacture of munitions - either directly or via Scottish Enterprise.

"The support provided is focused on helping firms to diversify and develop non-military applications for their technology and ensure Scotland continues to benefit from the thousands of jobs in the defence, aerospace and shipbuilding sectors.

"Human rights due diligence checks have now been fully rolled out and are a normal part of the Scottish Enterprise application process.

"This extends the due diligence checking on investment decisions that was already taking place in Scotland."