FRESH moves to stem the flow of public money into arms firms have been launched in Holyrood.

The Scottish Greens want to ensure a proposed south of Scotland enterprise agency will be barred from funding any companies involved in the weapons industry.

It comes amid ongoing concerns over government quangos pumping millions of pounds into some of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers.

Raytheon in Glenrothes – which is involved in making missiles linked to civilian deaths in Yemen – has been handed around £200,000 of public cash in recent years.

Scottish Green MSP John Finnie said: “The arms industry is a deeply immoral industry which deals in misery and death the world over.

“Using public money to support such abhorrent businesses must stop.

“This amendment ensures that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated and that the new agency can’t squander millions of Scottish taxpayers’ money to prop-up multi-billion dollar weapons manufacturers.”

Scottish Enterprise (SE) and its partner organisation Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have been repeatedly criticised for handing public money to companies involved in arms manufacturing.

Last year, a Freedom of Information request by the Greens revealed neither organisation kept track of the human rights records of funded arms companies.

Mr Finnie has now lodged an amendment to the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill which would prohibit the new body from funding companies involved in the weapons industry.

While many of the major manufacturers are based in Fife and the Central Belt, the Greens said the move was a “point of principle”.

SNP ministers insist money handed over is to help companies “diversify” away from the arms trade, and stress they do not provide funding for the manufacture of munitions.

But last year, Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer accused the SNP of “rank hypocrisy” after it condemned UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The new south of Scotland enterprise agency is expected to cover Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders council areas, and aims to drive growth, boost competitiveness and tackle inequality, as well as providing new opportunities for locals.