BAE profits at taxpayers' expense

22 February 2007

As BAE Systems announced record profits today, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) pointed out that they were possible only because of Government subsidies for the arms trade. BAE announced an annual profit of over £1 billion in the last year, fuelled in part by increased sales of weapons to the USA to fight the war in Iraq. CAAT repeated its call for the Government to end its practice of spending £900 million per year subsidising arms exports.

CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:

"BAE Systems calls the shots when it comes to Government policy. BAE’s profits would not be possible without the help of DESO, the arms traders’ marketing unit funded by UK taxpayers. BAE is not contributing to the UK economy, but taking from it.”


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

2. BAE Systems, the UK's biggest arms company, today announced operating profits of £1.054 billion for 2006. BAE described business with the USA as "excellent".

3. DESO (Defence Export Services Organisation) is a unit of the Ministry of Defence, funded by public money, which finds opportunities for arms deals for UK companies. DESO states that 75% of arms export sales from the UK would not go ahead without its help. Arms exports from the UK are subsidised by the Government with about £900 million per year.

4. BAE Systems is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for alleged corruption in Chile, Czech Republic, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Tanzania. An investigation into BAE Systems for alleged corruption in Saudi Arabia was suspended on 14th December 2006. BAE has denied all allegations of corruption.

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

Media Contact

Symon Hill
020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232


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