Britain's Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia In Numbers

12 October 2016

Sales of British defence and security equipment to Saudi Arabia are under scrutiny as the Kingdom wages war on Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen.

Campaigners against the UK arms trade are calling for an immediate ban on sales after the country privately admitted to bombing a funeral. More than 140 people were killed in the missile strike, a further 500 were left injured.
But just what is being sold and how much is the industry worth to the British economy?
The Stats

•    Under David Cameron, Britain made a total of £5.6 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia between May 2010 and early 2016.
•    This consists of bulk sales of tear gas, bombs and guns, £1.6 billion for Hawk jets, and 72 Typhoon fighter aircraft (a deal worth £4.5 billion when completed), according to the Independent newspaper, which notes that these deals give Saudi Arabia twice as many British warplanes as the RAF.
•    £3.5 billion worth of arms sales are said to have occurred between the UK and Saudi Arabia between the start of 2015 and the middle of this year.
•    Overall, UK government figures show that £7.7 billion of arms sales were made last year.
•    Two-thirds are made to countries in the Middle East, and in the last two years the UK has secured deals worth £388 million with the UAE, £170 million with Qatar, £120 million with Oman and £24 million with Bahrain.
•    There's also been £450 million worth of arms sales to Turkey and £116 million to Egypt, among others.

According to the Guardian:

"[The UK] now has about 12% of the global defence export market and, over the last decade, has shored up its position as the second largest arms exporter in the world."

The Office of National Statistics listed UK GDP for 2015 as £1.833 trillion, making arms sales for that year about 0.42% of the total.
To put that in perspective, annual defence spending accounts for  just over 2% - meaning like them or not, arms sales are a significant part of the UK economy.


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