A wealthy US arms multinational in Fife linked to alleged war crimes gets free management advice from the Scottish Government’s business development agency.
We can also reveal that a grant of £91,009 went towards “reviewing capacity” at Raytheon’s bomb making plant at Glenrothes, calling into question the Scottish Government’s claim that it does not fund arms dealers.
Critics of Raytheon’s funding include the Scottish Greens who said it was “outrageous” that public money was being put towards the “potential expansion of Raytheon’s missile system factory”. Campaign Against Arms Trade asked why such a wealthy firm was getting “freebies”.
Raytheon employs more than 700 people in Glenrothes where it makes laser guidance systems for smart bombs used in Yemen’s war by Saudi Arabia, whose forces have been accused of bombing children.
The firm has received more than £200,000 of tax payers’ money in grants and says it generates around £700 million for the Scottish economy each year. Critics have questioned the ethics of giving public money to a wealthy arms multinational whose weapons have killed children.
The Scottish Greens learned that Raytheon gets free advice by Scottish Enterprise staff in the form of “account management”.
We asked Scottish Enterprise for further details of its account management service, and for more information on a grant Raytheon received in 2017 for £91,009.
Scottish Enterprise said: “Scottish Enterprise has account managed Raytheon since 2007 when it took over account management responsibilities from the local enterprise company which was disbanded at the time. One member of staff engages directly with the company on an ongoing basis to provide business growth support and advice.
“Our account managers work with multiple companies. The advice and support is variable and is not chargeable therefore it is not possible to provide a cost.”
Regarding the grant of £91,009, Scottish Enterprise said: “This project was a facilities management project to review capacity at the company’s Glenrothes facility.”
Green MSP, Ross Greer, said: “The Scottish Government’s excuses for funding multi-billion dollar arms dealers are wafer-thin. Every time the Greens force more revelations, it becomes clearer what they’re actually doing.
“Now we’ve discovered that they have been putting public money towards the potential expansion of Raytheon’s missile system factory. This factory makes parts for a system allegedly linked to the bombing of a school bus and the murder of forty-two children in Yemen.
“It’s outrageous that the SNP give public money and the support of government officials to a bomb-maker repeatedly linked to alleged war crimes. Donating to emergency appeals for aid after those atrocities doesn’t come close to making their actions acceptable. What hold do these arms dealers have over the government? Every time they come back for more, they get it. This has to stop.”
Raytheon has a long and shameful history of arming and supporting human rights abusing regimes and dictatorships. Andrew Smith, Campaign Against Arms Trade
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “Raytheon has a long and shameful history of arming and supporting human rights abusing regimes and dictatorships. Its weapons have played a central role in fuelling conflicts around the world. The bombs it makes in Scotland have had a devastating impact in Yemen and beyond.
“Those on the receiving end of Raytheon’s weapons are suffering, but the company is making huge profits. Why is the Scottish Government giving millions of pounds worth of public money and freebies to a multi-billion pound arms company? Raytheon is the last company that it should be promoting.”
In reply to criticism, Scottish Enterprise said: “We do not provide support for the manufacture of munitions. The aerospace, defence and marine sector in Scotland is very important to our economy and employs some 40,000 people.
“We work proactively with many companies in this sector to help them diversify their activities and grow and sustain employment.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government does not provide funding for the manufacture of munitions – either directly or via Scottish Enterprise.
“The support provided is focused on helping firms to diversify and develop non-military applications for their technology and ensure Scotland continues to benefit from the thousands of jobs in the defence, aerospace and shipbuilding sectors.
“We are very clear that we expect the UK Government to properly police the export of arms and investigate whenever concerns are raised. However, while defence is reserved to the UK Government, it remains important to have appropriate defence and security capabilities maintained in Scotland.”
Raytheon did not reply to our request for a comment.
Letter to Ross Greer from Scottish Enterprise
A version of this story was published in the Sunday Mail on 27 January 2019.
Photo credit: Ibrahem Qasim | CC | Wikipedia