Eurofighter jobs claim is exposed as untrue

1 December 2006

Claims that a fraud investigation is threatening 50,000 UK jobs at BAE Systems have been exposed as untrue. The claims, which concern the potential loss of a deal to sell Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia, contradict a report commissioned by Eurofighter's own PR office. The report suggests that the number of UK jobs secured by the deal would be less than 10% of this figure.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) today quoted the report and called on the Government not to suppress the Serious Fraud Office investigation into BAE Systems. CAAT pointed to the report's estimate, based on Eurofighter's own figures, that the deal would secure around 11,000 jobs throughout the whole of Europe. This would mean less than 5,000 jobs located in the UK.

CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:

"BAE Systems' profits should not be confused with Britain's interests. It is simply untrue to say that 50,000 UK jobs are dependent on the Saudi purchase of Eurofighters. These figures are given with no evidence when BAE's apologists run out of excuses."

Claims that the Eurofighter deal would bring economic benefits to the UK have been further undermined by the Government's own Defence Procurement Agency. The Agency has admitted in a letter to CAAT that the deal "would generate many skilled jobs in Saudi Arabia", which would inevitably reduce the number of jobs that the deal might bring to the UK.

Speculation on the future of the deal follows reports that the Saudi authorities will break off the agreement if the Serious Fraud Office investigation is not halted.

ENDS

For further information or an interview please contact CAAT's Media Co-ordinator, Symon Hill on 020 7281 0297 or email media(at)caat·org·uk.

Notes

1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.

2. Since 2003, the Serious Fraud Office has been investigating BAE Systems' dealings with Saudi Arabia. BAE Systems has denied all allegations of corruption and stated that it is co-operating with the inquiry.

3. In December 2005, it was announced that Saudi Arabia had agreed a multibillion pound deal to buy Eurofighter jets from BAE Systems. In November 2006, it was reported that the Saudi authorities had suspended talks on the deal due to the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

4. The report in question was commissioned by the Eurofighter PR and Communications Office and published on 16th June 2006. It is entitled The Industrial and Economic Benefits of the Eurofighter Typhoon and was written by Professor Keith Hartley of the Centre of Defence Economics at the University of York.

5. On 4th October 2006, the Defence Procurement Agency stated in a letter to CAAT that the Eurofighter deal "would generate many skilled jobs in Saudi Arabia".

6. The suggestion that the cancellation of the Eurofighter deal with Saudi Arabia would threaten 50,000 British jobs has appeared several times in the media in recent days. Examples include the Daily Mail on 27th November and the Daily Telegraph on 1st December.

7. CAAT spokespeople are available for interview on this issue.

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