"The UK is the second largest arms exporter in the world (after the USA) and has, according to government figures, exported over £27 billion of military equipment in the past five years alone. For decades the UK Government has had a policy of promoting arms exports, seemingly at any cost. The result of this policy is that the UK continues to arm repressive regimes around the world. In 2000, the UK licensed military exports to 30 of the 40 most repressive regimes in the world and British weapons are being used in most of the world's current conflicts." Campaign Against Arms Trade
CAAT estimate that Government subsidies to the arms industry are at least £763 million. To justify this, the Government claims that an indigenous arms trade is vital to UK security, economy and jobs. Yet this benefit is grossly overstated. International security would be better served by promoting peace and fair trade and only a little imagination is needed to think of better ways to create tens of thousands of jobs with 763 million pounds worth of subsidies.
For more info on how much the military dominates research and development funding in the UK, read "Soldiers in the Laboratory", published by Scientists for Global Responsibility.
"The only groups who win in armed struggle are the arms manufacturers"
"The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - France, Russia, China, Britain and the US - together account for 88% of the world's conventional arms exports, and these exports contribute regularly to gross human rights abuses."
New Internationalist, August 2005
These exports are immensely profitable for the arms companies, but around the globe this trade fuels conflict, increases third world debt and diverts funds that should be spent on national health, education and peaceful development in the world's poorest nations.
What acceptable justification can there be for using taxpayer funds to promote these businesses, support their research and help make deals for them?
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies.. a theft from those who are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed"
Dwight D Eisenhower
£1,035 billion dollars was spent on militaries worldwide in 2004.