26 July 2007
Government announces closure of arms marketing unit after public campaign
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) is to be shut down. The news follows a high-profile campaign by CAAT and other groups for the closure of DESO, a Government unit whose purpose is to promote sales for private arms companies, despite being funded with taxpayers' money. CAAT hopes that with the closure of DESO, the undemocratic power of arms companies in the UK will be brought to an end.
Whilst applauding the announcement, CAAT made clear that it would closely monitor the implementation of the plans. CAAT insisted that military exports, which form less than 2% of total UK exports, must not use a disproportionate amount of the resources of UK Trade and Investment, which is now taking responsibility for them.
CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:
"The closure of DESO is a good news for Britain's economy, democracy and security. For 40 years, DESO has used taxpayers' money to promote vested interests, sold weapons with no regard to human rights and endangered the UK by harming its international reputation. Gordon Brown must ensure that DESO's closure is the first step towards ending the unhealthy influence of arms companies within Government."ENDS
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
2. CAAT can provide further information about the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) and the campaign for its closure. CAAT has worked alongside other groups, notably the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) and SPEAK, to campaign for DESO to be shut.
3. Since September 2006, CAAT supporters throughout the UK have lobbied their MPs to call for DESO's closure. On 16th October 2006, campaigners peacefully encircled the DESO offices in central London. On 7th March 2007 the Treasury received a petition signed by over 10,000 people.
4. The Government's announcement on DESO can be read here.
5. CAAT spokespeople are available for interview on this issue.
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