Green Group Press Office: 020 7983 4964/ 07810156886
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, 09 September 2003
Deputy Mayor of London horrified after visit to Arms Fair
London's Green Deputy Mayor Jenny Jones revealed she was "shocked, horrified and profoundly depressed" after her official visit to the arms fair in Docklands today.
The fair is the target of determined protest by a wide mix of peace groups who believe the show has no place in a world where we claim to want to end armed conflict. The public aren't admitted and it is only normally open to arms industry representatives and selected politicians. Consequently there is no proper public scrutiny of the weapons on sale and the sales practices adopted by the traders.
"Over many years I've read reports of how the arms trade operates," said Jenny today after touring the exhibition. "But seeing at first hand this host of men from all over the world bargaining over weapons systems which bring death and misery to millions throughout the world, brings home how inhumane this industry is.
"This fair allows the sale of weapons which will kill hundreds of civilians just because they happen to be in the wrong place. These weapons are on sale to delegations from countries wracked with civil unrest, repression and poverty. I can't help thinking of the millions of people in those countries who don't have clean water or adequate food but do have expensively-equipped armies.
"We in Britain currently subsidise the arms industry to the tune of at least £420m a year, and this can easily double if a country defaults on payment and the taxpayers pay compensation to manufacturers under the Export Credit Guarantee Fund. In addition this fair is costing taxpayers over a million pounds just in policing costs to protect it from people who rightly believe it should not be taking place."
"At the very least this industry should not be subsidised by the taxpayer. At best the industry and the fair should be closed down. It is shocking and horrifying, and I cannot understand why we permit it to continue."
Nana-Serwa Mancell (Miss)
Senior Press Officer
Greater London Authority - Green Group
London SE1 2AA
Tel: 020 7983 4964