Wed 5 Jun, 2019

Scottish Greens Rural Communities Spokesperson John Finnie MSP has slammed the Scottish Government after it failed to back proposals to prohibit the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency from funding munitions.

The SNP, Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems today voted against a Green amendment to prohibit the new agency investing in munitions.

Green MSPs have repeatedly raised concerns about Scotland’s enterprise agencies funding the arms industry, with grants to operators such as multinational Raytheon, who supply weapons used by Saudi Arabia on its war in Yemen.

Scottish Ministers have previously denied using ‘public money to support the manufacture or export of munitions from Scotland.’ 

There are a number of arms manufacturers located in the south including Penmann Engineering and Qinitiq, based in Dumfries and Stranraer respectively. Both companies have links to Saudi Arabia. 

John Finnie MSP said:

“The Scottish Government’s enterprise agencies have a sorry history when it comes to funding arms companies. Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise have both pumped millions of pounds into the industry, and provide other support such as account management services.

“It’s shameful that multinational companies like Raytheon, a company that makes billions of pounds annually in profits, for providing weaponry to human rights abusers is given public money. Then Ministers have the brass neck to tell us with a straight face that they don’t fund munitions. My amendment would simply have put that much-repeated assurance on the face of the bill.

“I’ve previously asked whether the Scottish Government records the number of deaths and injuries incurred as a result of it funding companies involved to which I received a response that no such recording takes place.

“It’s outrageous that our established agencies already fund death and misery around the world. The creation of a new agency gave us an opportunity to choose a different path, but regretfully, the government have decided to carry on with business as usual.”

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