Arms dealers profit from delivering death, destruction & misery across the world. Bombs, tanks, targeting systems and other ‘essentials' of modern warfare are made in the UK and sold on to brutal regimes. And the Scottish Government is fuelling this industry with taxpayers’ money.
Arms dealers supported by the Scottish Government have been linked directly to potential war crimes, such as missile manufacturer Raytheon, whose product was allegedly used in a Saudi bombing of 42 children on a Yemeni school bus - and to the suppression of democracy, such Chemring, whose tear gas was used in 2014 & 2019 by Hong Kong’s security forces to attack protestors, journalists and bystanders.
For the most part, regulation of the arms trade is left to Westminster, where successive governments have been all too happy to sell weapons & military equipment to some of the worst human rights abusers. The Scottish Government however, spends millions through its enterprise agencies to support arms dealers with a presence here. Over £25 million in public money has been given to arms dealers since the SNP took office in 2007.
Since being elected as an MSP, I have investigated these outrageous activities by Scotland’s self-styled ‘rights-respecting government,’ leading a campaign to expose the links to arms dealers which the SNP prefers to keep quiet.
These links include meetings between arms dealers and Scottish Government ministers, government financial grants to support often vaguely titled company projects and bespoke business support and advice services, provided free of charge.
The Scottish Government has not made it easy to confirm any of this. Documents I have requested are often redacted to the point of being useless. On other occasions Freedom of Information requests are rejected, in one case forcing a successful appeal to the Information Commissioner.
Nonetheless, I believe it is in the public interest that we see exactly how the government is spending public money in support of some of the world’s largest arms dealers.
In this section, you will find links to the many documents that I have uncovered during this investigation.