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by Louise Wilson
30 May 2024
Patrick Harvie: End all grants to firms involved in Gaza conflict

Alamy

Patrick Harvie: End all grants to firms involved in Gaza conflict

The Scottish Greens have called on the Scottish Government to end grants to any companies named on a UN list of Israeli-linked business activities in Palestine.

Co-leader Patrick Harvie used his question at FMQs to urge John Swinney to “change this policy immediately” to ensure no government support went to companies involved in the conflict.

The first minister said there were safeguards in place to ensure no public money was involved in the production of arms, but cited legal issues in relation to money going to the same companies for different purposes.

Harvie said that “simply isn’t enough” and pointed to comments made by former first minister Humza Yousaf that “no company profiting from occupation should profit here in Scotland too”.

The Green MSP said: “Raytheon, BAE Systems and Leonardo have all received eye watering sums from the Scottish Government agency, Scottish Enterprise… It is shocking and inexplicable that at the same time as the Scottish Government is calling for an end to arms sales, they have directly funded these manufacturers.”

Swinney, who earlier this week called on the UK to recognise Palestine as a state and end the sale of arms to Israel, said he would “happily explore” the issues with Harvie but warned the government has to act within legal constraints.

He said: “There will be a legal basis for us applying safeguards in relation to the issuing of grants, but we have to have a legal basis for saying why on other issues not related to the Israel-Gaza conflict that we would have a basis for not providing a grant.

“That’s not me being pedantic, that’s just simply the legal basis on which the government has to act, and we have to always act within the law. I have to take the views of the law officers deadly seriously.”

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