ADS fears for future of UK defence industry

Posted on 28 Sep 2011 by The Manufacturer

The voice of the aerospace, defence and security industry, ADS voiced fears that many more thousands of jobs are under threat as the MoD budget shrinks.

Highlighting the fact that the proportion of government money that gets spent on defence is roughly of what it was 20 years ago, ADS claimed that the industry is in danger of being forced to make 20,000 to 30,000 more redundancies.

Chairman of ADS Ian Godden drew attention to the fact that all three parties were responsible for the decline in the UK’s military spending capacity: “This is not a party political issue but a matter of the national interest that has a profound impact on the capabilities of both our Armed Forces and our industrial base.”

He added that current government policy is “going against” the Coalition’s aim of turning Britain’s economy into one with advanced technology and manufacturing playing a large part in the UK’s manufacturing base. Mr Godden stated his concern for the impact of the lack of government spending on SMEs: “Defence is 10 per cent of the UK’s manufacturing and engineering base and is a world leading, export-led industry with 3,000 SMEs – more than France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Norway combined.”

Business Minister Mark Prisk defended the cuts and BAE Systems’ decision to make 3,000 of its workers redundant, stating that other companies such as Rolls Royce and Jaguar Land Rover were looking for highly skilled workers.

Godden’s position was similar to Mr Prisk’s, as he said that Britain’s aerospace sector had some capacity to make up for the losses in the defence sector: “If we are smart as a nation, with Government and industry investment, then we can grow and create more wealth from the long-term opportunities in aerospace to compensate somewhat for the engineering and manufacturing losses in defence.”

“However, we still need to reinvest in the UK defence industry to maintain its world leading position and export base,” he added.

George Archer