Tony Blair delivers cheque for £888 million to UK arms companies at Farnborough International 2004 on Monday 19 July 2004

Photo-call: A Tony Blair look-a-like will deliver a giant cheque for £888 million, representing the export subsidies given to UK arms companies, at 11 am on Monday 19 July 2004 at the pedestrian entrance to Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire (Gate B – or Dairy Gate between Pinehurst Roundabout and Queen’s Roundabout on the A325 in Farnborough opposite where A325 and Guilford Rd. West intersect). The cheque is about 5 ft by 10 ft and requires several people to carry it. Over 30 demonstrators with placards and leaflets are expected to assemble.

HAMPSHIRE (ENGLAND), At 11 am on Monday 19 July 2004, supporters of Campaign Against Arms Trade will hold a peaceful demonstration at Farnborough International 2004 in Hampshire, where this year’s most important UK arms fair is taking place. The demonstration is outside the pedestrian entrance to Farnborough Airfield (Gate B – or Dairy Gate between the Pinehurst Roundabout and Queen’s Roundabout on the A325 in Farnborough opposite where A325 and Guilford Rd. West intersect). Banners, placards and a giant cheque, representing UK arms export subsidies will be held aloft while leaflets are given to arms fair visitors.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade, Andrew Wood, said

Selling arms abroad costs the taxpayer about £888 million every year. That’s £888 million of corporate welfare to arms companies, or about £13,000 for each job in arms exports every year. This corporate welfare could be better spent on non military products and services, so reducing weapons proliferation and increasing peace and security – both at home and abroad.

“It’s not just the cost of arms subsidies that is of concern but the insidious form they take. There are 600 civil servants in the Government’s Defence Export Services Organisation. We have the sales force of private companies, arms companies, not only paid for by taxpayers but actually employed under the guise of the civil service. If we’re to have a healthy democracy and fair governance then it’s time the arms industry was disentangled from Government and these subsidies stopped.


For further information please contact:
CAAT Office: 020 7281 0297, onsite Mobile (19 July only): 07903 648 034


Arms export subsidies of about £888 million ever year pay for:

Subsidy or Saving Cost (£m)
Marketing and Promotion:
Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO); use of Arms Forces, Embassies and Defence Attachés, Official Visits; Defence Assistance Fund (Grants); UK Trade and Investment (Govt. Agency)
Direct Distortion of Ministry of Defence Procurement Choices 100
Export Credits Guarantee Department (cheaper insurance) 180
Research & Development, incl. Missile Defence Centre 675
Overheads (longer production runs, lower unit costs) -125
Total 888

The Defence Export Services Organisation, mentioned above, is a Government Department that employs about 600 civil servants. The Export Credits Guarantee Department is also part of the civil service. About half it’s work is on providing guarantees for arms export.

For further information contact Campaign Against Arms Trade office: 020 7281 0297 or see the CAAT website. A briefing about Farnborough International 2004 and subsidies is available on request.

CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

Keep in touch