The UK had returned to its position as the world’s second largest arms exporter after the US. British defence orders rose by £5bn to £14bn, making it the biggest year since records began in 1983 with sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and other countries in the Middle East accounting for nearly 80% of that figure.
Campaign Against Arms Trade said the figures “Exposed the rank hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy. The government claims to stand for human rights and democracy, but it is arming and supporting repressive regimes and dictatorships around the world.”
The UK’s share of the global defence export industry to be about 19%, placing it second for the first time since 2014, pushing Russia into third place and ahead of fourth-ranked France. The world leader is the US, which has a share of about 40%.