Written evidence from the Campaign Against
Arms Trade |
1. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in
the UK works to end the international arms trade. Around 80% of
CAAT's funding comes from individual supporters.
2. In September 2010, CAAT made a submission
to your Committee's earlier inquiry into Government assistance
to industry, concentrating on the role of the Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills (BIS) in providing support for exports in
one industry. CAAT drew attention to the problems engendered by
the arms trade; pointed out that its promotion by the Government
is controversial, not apolitical; said that the supposed economic
and employment benefits to the UK are far from proven; and proposed
that the support given to the arms companies be redirected to
newer industries tackling climate change, with benefits to both
the economy and security.
3. Unaware that the Committee would shortly be
holding this more specific inquiry, CAAT's September submission
focussed on UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Export Credits
Guarantee Department (ECGD). The key points CAAT made about these
two bodies are summarised below.
4. Additionally, in this submission, CAAT looks
at the measurement of "success" with regards to Government
support for trade. More military exports should not be counted
as a "success". However, there is certainly room for
much improvement to be made in reporting and general transparency,
to allow a wider and more informed discussion when policy is being
UK TRADE & INVESTMENT
5. UKTI gives hugely disproportionate support
to military exports. There are about 160 staff in UKTI's Defence
and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) dedicated to promoting military
exports, more than those providing specific support to all other
sectors of industry put together. (The rest of UKTI's staff provide
support for all sectors of industry, both military and civil.)
This is despite military equipment being only 1.5% of total UK
exports, and the fact that, even then, 40% of the content of these
exports is comprised of imports.
6. UKTI DSO is not discriminating about the records
of Governments to which it promotes arms. Its priority markets
for 2010-11 include Algeria, with a poor human rights record;
regional rivals India and Pakistan; unstable Iraq; recent "pariah"
Libya; and repressive Saudi Arabia. (Hansard, 28 June 2010 Col
418/9W) The only criteria for inclusion on this list appears
to be the willingness and ability to pay for the equipment.
7. Globalisation is also an issue that needs
consideration when UK governments use taxpayers' money to promote
exports. There is a real danger of the interests of big companies
and those of the UK people being mistakenly conflated. As an example,
CAAT pointed out in its September submission that according to
notes of a meeting on 16 April 2008 between Alan Garwood, Marketing
/ Business Development Director of BAE Systems, and the acting
Head of UKTI DSO the former asked about UKTI support for a BAE
project where the manufacture took place the US. He was told that
this was worth discussing if a specific opportunity arose.
8. For many years support for arms sales accounted
for between a third and a half of all government export insurance
through the ECGD. A massive drop in this proportion, to just 1%,
occurred in 2008 when BAE stopped the cover on its arms deals
with Saudi Arabia, cover which documents obtained from the National
Archive and through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests show
the Treasury, the ECGD itself and the Bank of England all had
reservations about. This drop, however, could prove to be temporary
unless the conditions for ECGD support change to exclude support
for military goods.
9. The ECGD has more formally addressed the level
of UK government support for a multi-national commercial enterprise.
In June 2007 it accepted that it would support projects with a
foreign content of up to 80%.
10. Your Committee's examination of the Government's
measurement of "success" in its support for trade and
investment is most welcome. In the case of military goods, this
does not mean increased exports as such sales can have negative
ramifications in terms of security, corruption, human rights and
economic development. However, there is an urgent need for more
reliable figures in this sector and CAAT has made a number of
Freedom of Information (FoI) requests in this area.
11. On 23 July 2010, UKTI DSO issued a press
release with the headline: gUK
second most successful global defence exporterh.
New military export orders were said to be over £7
billion, as against £4.2
billion in 2008. CAAT made a FoI request for the working papers
on which the figures were based and was sent some rather vague
graphs and pie-charts, plus an explanation that other figures
had been based on a survey of military companies and that this
was being withheld under the FoI Act's commercial interest exemption.
12. CAAT went back to UKTI DSO and asked for
the sources used to calculate the non-UK figures and, with regards
to the UK, the methodology used. In response , for the non-UK
figures, UKTI DSO did not provide a list of sources, but stated
that it made "use of a range of information published by
governments, periodicals, published reports and websites."
With regards to the UK, CAAT was told: g...there
is no documented methodology as such. Companies that have agreed
to take part in our annual survey provide figures covering new
orders won for the calendar year in question. The survey return
includes information on overseas customers, the product or service
to which the order relates, and its value.h
(Letter from UKTI DSO, 25 November 2010) It is notable that UKTI
DSO's figures are strikingly at odds with other international
sources The US Congressional Research Service figures for 2009
arms export orders, put the UK in eighth place with 2.6%.
13. UKTI DSO's figures are, in any event, unsatisfactory
as an authoritative measurement. Firstly, although announced by
Government, these gofficialh
figures are not the result of Government or independent research,
but instead a compilation of figures provided by industry. UKTI,
the industry and the individual companies within it all have a
vested interest in the figures looking as good for them as possible.
14. Secondly, to base the figures on orders,
as distinct from deliveries, can be misleading for several reasons.
Export orders can be announced several times. In which year, or
years, would this deal be counted within the figures? Orders can
also be cancelled or amended, how is this accounted for in the
figure? A particular headline deal might contain components from
other companies - what is done to stop gdouble
15. Thirdly, with a global industry, how do the
figures account for a deal announced by a UK company, but where
most of the production is taking place overseas? For instance,
million BAE Systems Hawk deal with India, announced in July 2010,
will support only 200 UK jobs. Will the whole £700
million be added to the 2010 UK military exports figure or just
the proportion of that which might actually feed in to the UK
16. There are now even fewer official military
export figures than used to be the case. Until 2007, the UK Annual
Reports on Strategic Exports used to include a table on the value
of exports of military equipment. Even this was produced with
the qualification that it was only indicative as customs classifications
did not match the list of exports needing military export licences.
From 2008 even these indicative figures have not been produced.
Likewise, the annual figures provided by Defence Analytical
Services and Advice on employment generated, directly and indirectly,
by military exports ceased with the 2007-08 figures included in
the 2009 report. The reason given for deciding not to continue
to produce the figures was that "the data do not directly
support MOD policy making and operations."
17. Despite frequent speeches by ministers and
others, such as, recently, Prime Minister David Cameron saying:
"I strongly support our defence industrial base, which is
one of our great industries and a great export earner for our
country. We should support it." (Hansard, 19 October 2010,
Col 80) these assertions of the benefits of military industry
do not appear to be based on any analysis. In fact, there appears
to be a general unwillingness by Government to investigate military
industry and the economic justifications used to support it. For
example, in 2005 CAAT made FoI requests to the Ministry of Defence
and the then Department of Trade and Industry regarding the UK's
largest arms deal, the Al Yamamah arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
The responses revealed that neither department had conducted any
studies into the economic impact of the deals.
18. Even when BIS claims to have carried out
some analysis this cannot be taken as fact. Towards the end of
the Labour government a parliamentary response said: "The
Department's analysis is that a minimum of 8,600 jobs should be
directly sustained in the UK by the commitment to Tranche 3 of
the Eurofighter Typhoon procurement." (Hansard, 26 October
2009, Col 117/8W) CAAT made a FoI request for the analysis.
It seems that BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Selex Galileo were
asked for the figures of the job losses which would occur a) directly
and b) in the supply chain if Tranche 3 were to be cancelled.
The "analysis" was limited to adding the six figures