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News > World

Scottish Councils Make Millions Investing in Global Arms Trade

  • The investments were revealed after a freedom of information request.

    The investments were revealed after a freedom of information request. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 June 2016

Several local authorities had direct investments in companies supplying arms to a number of war-torn countries.

The hidden investments of nine local Scottish city councils, with money in global arms manufacturers totaling millions of dollars, were revealed following a freedom of information request by a Scottish advocacy group.

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The local councils directly invested in some of the largest arms manufacturers that supply weapons to a number of conflict zones, many of which “have armed human rights abusers, and have caused devastation across the world,” said the Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Edinburgh City Council and Highland Council invested in Raytheon, whose missiles are used in Yemen and whose bombs were used by Israel in the 2014 bombing of Gaza.

Other local authorities invested in the world’s biggest arms firm, Lockheed Martin, whose weapons are used in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Bahrain and Israel.

Glasgow City Council had US$28.5 million invested in Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Boeing’s aircraft have been used in Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The data estimated that Glasgow City Council had US$90 million in projected return from military and aerospace investments.

The information was revealed after an investigation by Common Weal South Lanarkshire, a Scottish based advocacy group. “The fact that these investments employ thousands of jobs does not make it somehow acceptable,” said John Young from the advocacy group.

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“We hope this will encourage others to expose unethical investments in arms which are being used to kill civilian populations around the world. By creating a greater awareness we hope the public who support our view will hold their politicians and governments to account for the actions,” he said.

Other local authorities with direct investments in the arms manufactures were Orkney Islands Council, Scottish Borders Council, Moray Council, Fife Council, Falkirk Council, and Aberdeen City Council. It is believed that other councils may also have indirect investments through pension funds.

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