Special Treatment: UK government support for the arms industry and trade

Report on subsidies and support for the UK arms industry and trade

The UK Government provides a huge level of support, protection and direct and indirect subsidy for the arms industry.

This report written for CAAT by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute identifies many of the mechanisms used to provide this support:

  • government funding of Research & Development
  • government absorption of most of the risk of cost overruns on major programmes
  • major political influence of arms companies through a ‘revolving door’ with the MoD and policy influence through high-level advisory bodies
  • shielding of many key arms purchases from foreign competition
  • protection from corruption investigations in relation to export deals
  • intense lobbying by government ministers, up to the Prime Minister, for export contracts
  • direct subsidies for arms exports estimated to be in the range of £104-£142 million. These arise from export promotion via the Defence & Security Organisation (now Defence & Security Exports), the Defence Assistance Fund, the military attaché network, and official visits; and export credit guarantees which act as subsidised insurance against default.

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

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