Scots call for halt of arms sales to Saudis and UAE

Save the children survey web

Save the Children have quizzed Brits on weapons sales

11th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Scots have called for the UK to halt the sale of weapons to those fighting in Yemen.

More than half of Scottish respondents who took part in a nationwide British survey think the UK should suspend the approval of arms sales to countries fighting in the Middle Eastern state.

A new poll by YouGov for Save the Children has revealed that 55% of Scots oppose approving any arms sales to nations involved in the conflict, which include British allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The UK has approved £3.8 billion of arms licences to Saudi Arabia, the leader of a multinational coalition in Yemen, since the conflict escalated in March 2015. Some of these exports include Paveway IV guided bombs and Typhoon fighter jets.

Licences for military equipment to coalition member UAE total nearly £300 million over the same period. More than three in five (65%) of the 171 Scottish adults surveyed, described the approval of arms sales as “unacceptable” if they risk being used in Yemen.

This figure compares to just 10% of Scots surveyed who said they are “acceptable”. Half of Scots said the UK should also either cut back (7%) or completely sever (43%) its political support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, while just less than a fifth of Scots surveyed said it should be maintained (13%) or increased (13%).

George Graham, Save the Children’s director of humanitarian and conflict policy, said: “All sides have killed and maimed thousands of children in this brutal war – but the fact remains that only one side, the Saudi-led coalition, is dropping bombs supplied by Britain.

“The UK must urgently suspend arms sales until there is a proper international investigation and our allies stop blocking vital humanitarian aid.

“Britain has much to be proud of – we are one of the biggest donors of aid to Yemen. But our bombs are also being sent to countries which are killing Yemeni children, bombing schools and hospitals and impeding aid access. It is clear the public believes that weaponry built on the British Isles is casting a dark shadow over our standing in the world.”

The findings come as military buyers head to Britain for a major arms fair. The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition, which runs this week, is the largest arms and security fair in the world and is held every two years in London.