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For the past decade, the UK has been the second-largest arms dealer

(Photo of a destroyed house in south Sanaa, Yemen, Credit: Ibrahem Qasim)

According to government statistics, the UK has ranked as the second-largest arms dealer in the world for the past decade, second only to the US.

In 2019, UK arms deals made up 16 per cent of the global sale of arms and secured £11bn worth of contracts for military equipment and services. This is down from 2018 when £14bn worth of deals were made, this was the second-highest year for the UK in arms sales since 1983.

Whilst the government has defended its contracts; claiming it has generated thousands of high-skilled jobs and helped to keep the country safe; Campaign Against the Arms Trade has accused the government of “arming and supporting repression around the world”.

According to data from the UK Defence and Exports, since 2010 the UK has signed £86bn worth of contracts with 60 per cent going towards the Middle East and Saudi Arabia being the top client.

Andrew Smith, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade, described these sales as “a source of great shame” and further stated:

"UK-made weapons have played a devastating role in the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen, helping to create the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Wherever there is conflict there will always be arms companies trying to profit from it. This profiteering does not just enable war, it actively fuels it”.

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