UK Firms Make Huge Profits Selling Weapons to Saudi Arabia

UK Firms Make Huge Profits Selling Weapons to Saudi ArabiaUK Firms Make Huge Profits Selling Weapons to Saudi Arabia

British companies selling weapons have earned hundreds of millions of dollars by selling arms to Saudi Arabia during the ongoing war in Yemen, a report says.

New estimates released by the children’s charity War Child reveal that since the US-backed Saudi coalition began its intervention in Yemen, UK weapons companies including BAE Systems and Raytheon have earned revenues exceeding $8b from dealings with Saudi Arabia, generating profits estimated at almost $775m, Al Jazeera reported.

The UK government, however, has received just $40m of corporate tax, the report said.

“This tax revenue figure is pitifully small and comes at the cost of thousands of children who have been killed, injured, and starved by a conflict that this trade has helped sustain,” the report said.

A Saudi-led military coalition was formed in March 2015 to support Yemen’s fugitive president Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi in fighting the Houthi fighters.

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and has injured more than 40,000 to date, according to the United Nations.

In the past three years, the UK has approved arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia worth $4.7b, including the Tornado aircraft, which is partially manufactured by BAE systems, vehicles and tanks, including BAE’s Tactica armored vehicles valued at $580,000 and $1.48b worth of grenades missiles and bombs, including Raytheon’s Paveway IV bombs.

Since then, Saudi Arabia has been involved both directly and indirectly in conflict in Yemen, where it faces accusations of war crimes and other abuses.

The report argues that the policy of selling arms to Saudi Arabia is financially inconsistent and does not “represent good value for money”.

The UK reaps a minimal tax take from arms sales in Saudi Arabia —just $18m in corporation tax in 2016— yet, the will spend $187m in humanitarian aid to Yemen, according to War Child.

“The arms trade directly counteracts much of the benefits Yemeni children and other civilians might expect to receive from the provision of aid, undermining the Department for International Development’s policy of getting value for money from the aid it commits,” the report said.


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