A SCOTTISH Government agency has reportedly given huge sums to arms companies supplying Israel since the nation began a new bombardment of Gaza in October.

Raytheon, BAE Systems, and Leonardo have all received taxpayer-funded grants from Scottish Enterprise since Israel began its assault on Palestine after the Hamas attacks on October 7, The Ferret reports.

BAE was paid its grant – worth £360,000 – on April 4, just a day after then-first minister Humza Yousaf wrote to the UK Government calling for arms sales to be stopped.

The company helps make the F-35 fighter jet which Israel has used to bomb Gaza.

The National: Gaza

The Ferret said that a Freedom of Information request had also found Scottish Enterprise had failed to discuss changing its policy on giving grants to defence companies linked to the war.

Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government have argued that they do not “provide support for the development of munitions or weaponry” and said the projects they fund are “unrelated to the deeply distressing situation in the Middle East”.

The Ferret also found grants were given to the UK subsidiary of Italian weapons firm Leonardo, which reportedly makes laser targeting systems for Israeli jets in Edinburgh.

In 2016, the company also made 30 Aermacchi M346 aircraft for the Israeli Air Force.

READ MORE: Watch Stephen Flynn's brilliant response to question on options facing English voters

Raytheon, which has a base in Glenrothes, Fife, was paid £250,000 on February 14, 2024 for an unspecified research project which would focus on “new markets and customers”.

The company supplies the missiles for Israel’s “Iron Dome” defence system and has also made “smart bombs” for the country’s military.

The National: BAE Systems Govan

BAE was given a grant for staff training in its shipyard on the River Clyde, which The Ferret reported was to fund “new ways of constructing naval ships on the Clyde”.

The Ferret has previously revealed that no companies have ever failed Scottish Enterprises’ human rights checks – which were introduced in 2019 after criticism of the previous regime.

'Shocking and inexplicable' 

Greens MSP Ross Greer said the new checks were “nothing more than a box-ticking exercise”.

He added: “If a multi-billion-pound arms dealer whose weapons are being used to commit a genocide can pass your human rights test, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. We will be pushing for a complete overhaul of this assessment system.

“Humza Yousaf offered clear moral leadership in his consistent calls for a ceasefire and an end to arms sales.

“Many will find it utterly shocking and inexplicable that, at the same time the then-first minister was calling for an end to the violence, his government’s enterprise agency was funding the very companies fuelling it.”

READ MORE: Fife couple celebrate massive win on EuroMillions on National Lottery

Scottish Labour’s Katy Clark said: “At a time when Israel is being accused of serious war crimes, the Scottish Government has a moral obligation to take a stand.

"The message must be that these crimes are not in our name and we should be doing everything within our power to stop them.”

Neil Cowan, the Scotland director of Amnesty International, said the Scottish Government must “stop ignoring Scottish Enterprise’s use of taxpayers’ money to companies involved in manufacturing and supplying weapons to Israel”.

He added: “Any transfer of arms or their components to Israel risks facilitating the ongoing horrors that are unfolding, as well as reinforcing Israel’s system of oppression and apartheid domination.

READ MORE: John Swinney hits back at question from BBC presenter on SNP finances

“No public money should be supporting the development or manufacture of weapons used to commit human rights violations and war crimes, and with the civilian death toll in Gaza mounting inexorably it’s staggering that arms firms supplying the Israeli military have been waived through Scottish Enterprise’s due diligence process.”

It comes after the International Criminal Court issued war crimes arrest warrants for Israel and Hamas’s leaders.

SNP's 'complicity' warning to UK Government

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn (below) has repeatedly called for the UK to suspend arms sales to Israel claiming the country was “complicit” in the deaths of “thousands of civilians” in Gaza.

The National: Stephen Flynn

A Scottish Enterprise spokesperson said: “We have repeatedly stated our position that Scottish Enterprise does not provide support for the development of munitions or weaponry.

“The projects referred to here are unrelated to the deeply distressing situation in the Middle East. Instead, they include training support for sustainable and modern shipbuilding on the Clyde, product development for diversification into civilian markets, and job creation including graduate roles and apprenticeships.

“Scottish Enterprise is a ‘gap’ funder, providing a minority contribution, with companies having to invest significantly higher amounts in Scotland and their Scottish workforce to unlock our funds. Our robust due diligence process fully aligns with Scottish Government guidance, and any funding agreement we enter into with a company must comply with UK and Scottish law.”

A BAE Systems spokesperson said: “The ongoing violence in the Middle East is having a devastating impact on civilians in the region and we hope the parties involved find a way to end the violence as soon as possible.

"We operate under the tightest regulation and comply fully with all applicable defence export controls, which are subject to ongoing assessment.

“As part of a wider £300m commitment to shipbuilding on the Clyde, BAE Systems is investing in a new applied shipbuilding academy.

"We welcome the additional funding from Scottish Enterprise which will support the ambition to attract, retain and develop the workforce of the future and both help secure the long-term viability of shipbuilding in Glasgow and provide an ongoing valued and significant contribution to the Scottish economy.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has already stated that our enterprise and skills agencies do not provide support for the development of munitions or weaponry.

“The support referred to here is unrelated to the deeply distressing situation in the Middle East.

“Instead, it includes training support for sustainable and modern shipbuilding on the Clyde, product development for diversification into civilian markets, and job creation - including graduate roles and apprenticeships.”

The Scottish Government, Raytheon, and Leonardo were approached for comment.