Banking blood

IssueDecember 2008 - January 2009
News by Gabriel Carlyle

In October, War on Want produced a major report on the involvement of major British banks in the arms trade.

It turns out that all the UK’s high street banks - apart from the Co-operative bank - fund the arms industry through direct investment in shares, participation in loan syndicates and the provision of banking services.

Barclays has the largest amount of shares in the global arms sector, with £7.3bn invested in total. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland have all given loans to companies that produce cluster munitions and depleted uranium munitions.

Lloyds “serves as principal banker to BAE Systems”, Britain’s largest arms manufacturer.

Aviva, AXA, F&C, Invesco, Legal and General, Prudential, Schroders and Standard Life all have large stakes in the arms industry.