1. ITV Report

£8.1m government funding announced for overseas safety operations

HALO’s 7,000 global staff are reliant on support from the local community Photo: ITV Border

Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, has announced £8.1m funding to help a charity based in the south of Scotland remove landmines from war-torn countries.

Priti Patel, the secretary of state for international development, made the announcement while visiting The Halo Trust, in Thornhill, this afternoon.

David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland, joined her to make the announcement at the HALO Trust.

Priti Patel also met with local suppliers and representatives from local firms.

Over the last 10 years, the HALO Trust has purchased nearly £5m on protective equipment from local UK businesses.

It includes specialist armouring equipment for vehicles from Penman’s Engineering; spare parts for Land Rovers from Carlisle-based Lloyds Motors and tyres from Soltyre.

The £8.1m funding will support HALO’s UK-funded operations in Cambodia, Somalia, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and South Sudan until early 2018.

This will help to make 15 million square metres of land safe again and enable 15,000 community visits to educate people on the dangers of living with landmines.

It is hoped to benefit almost 30,000 people whose livelihoods are affected by landmines.

HALO is working with Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to make a landmine free world in 2025.

Landmines are indiscriminate weapons of war that maim and kill innocent children every day. Scottish organisations like HALO Trust are at the forefront of the UK’s efforts, bringing British ingenuity, determination and bravery to save lives and make some of the world’s most fragile countries safer and more stable.

I’m pleased to have met with so many of the local companies that provide the specialist equipment HALO needs to carry out its dangerous and difficult work – they represent the best of British expertise.

By involving British businesses in our lifesaving work overseas, we are supporting local economies right across the UK and helping to create and protect jobs.”

– Priti Patel, International Development Secretary

This is a great example of how the UK’s aid commitment to help those most in need around the world also works here at home in our national interest. Scotland is at the heart of the UK’s international aid efforts – with hundreds of staff working in East Kilbride as well as contracts going to many Scottish companies.

The companies working with the HALO Trust are making a real contribution to some of the poorest communities on earth – and in doing so are creating jobs and driving growth in Scotland. This is just one example of why our aid strategy is so important and why we are so proud to be meeting our commitment as a world-leader in international aid.”

– David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland