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British arms companies have earned more than £6bn from their trade with Saudi Arabia during the ongoing war in Yemen, new research has found.

War Child UK claimed the true revenue from dealings with the Gulf state are almost double previous estimates, despite only around £30m going to the public through corporation tax receipts.

The charity accused private manufacturers including BAE Systems and Raytheon of “profiteering from the deaths of innocent children” by selling missiles and equipment to the Saudi-led coalition.

It stands accused of committing war crimes and killing thousands of civilians with its bombing campaign against Houthi rebels.

Rocco Blume, a conflict and humanitarian advisor at War Child, said Britain is not only selling arms to Saudi forces but maintaining them as well.

The estimated revenue from ongoing support pushed the estimated revenue far above the £3.6bn figure announced by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade last week.

“We all want to see productive international trade, but this is damaging,” Mr Blume told The Independent.

“The revenue has to be seen in the context of all the other costs incurred in this trade, especially to our international reputation, particularly on human rights.”

Mr Blume said there was a “lack of transparency” on the extent of British firms’ involvement amid a global weakening of protections for children in conflicts including Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

He also raised concern that the UK was becoming “less fussy” about international trading partners as Brexit approaches.
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