For the last few years, peace groups in many countries have focused attention on worldwide military expenditure with a Global Day of Action, which took place this week.
Hundreds of civil society groups draw attention to the way the world’s $1.75 trillion military spending fuels and worsens conflict, and undermines social spending. The UK has the fourth highest military spending in the world, behind only the USA, China and Russia. It also counts among the world’s top seven arms exporters. This arms trade is seen by politicians as an essential part of both Britain’s industrial base and its place as a player on the world stage.
There is a government department, the Defence and Security Organisation [DSO], which gives expert advice on political and economic factors so that companies can target their products as effectively as possible. DSO employs 54% of all sector-specific staff in Britain’s export support department – UK Trade and Investment.
High-profile visits maintain links with potential buyers. David Cameron toured the Gulf States in November, and Prince Charles Saudi Arabia in February co-incident with BAE signing a new deal with the Saudis.
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