Fri 6 Dec, 2019

It is hard to see how the government’s enterprise agency can justify funding this arms company, especially when so many small businesses are crying out for more support. Ross Greer

A factory to make munitions has been partly funded by the Scottish Government through its agency Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Greens have revealed. This is despite the First Minister’s repeated insistence that the Scottish Government ‘does not fund the manufacture of munitions’.

FOIs by the Scottish Greens revealed that in 2009, Chemring Energetics successfully applied for Scottish Enterprise funding to invest in site expansion to, in their own words, “take advantage of market moves that have resulted in gaps in the manufacture of explosives".

The Chemring site in question specialises in components for, again in their own words, "rocket propulsion systems, release of airborne weapons systems, missile guidance systems, arming units, and military demolition".

The issue was raised at FMQs by Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer.

Speaking afterwards, Ross Greer said:

“The First Minister has repeated the same claim, insisting despite the evidence that this government does not support the manufacture of munitions. Yet here we have a government-funded project that specifies munitions and explosives as the growth market being supported. It is hard to see how the government’s enterprise agency can justify funding this arms company, especially when so many small businesses are crying out for more support.

“The SNP never miss an opportunity to criticise the Tory government at Westminster for its support of global arms dealers but the truth is their own position is drenched in hypocrisy. Since they came to power, over £25 million of Scottish taxpayers’ money has been given to arms dealers, including Saudi Arabia’s bomb-maker and the supplier of tear gas used against children in Hong Kong. This must stop.

"We need all public funding to pull in the same direction, to tackle the climate emergency and fund a jobs-rich future for all through a Scottish Green New Deal.”

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