Chairman of ADS Ian Godden warns of the knock-on effects to industry of the MoD’s cuts, despite Defence Secretary Liam Fox’s assurances that the reductions will facilitate stronger Armed Forces in the long term.
Defending the decision to effect 22,000 redundancies in the Ministry of Defence and the UK armed forces over the next four years Defence Secretary Fox today said that the savings made would allow the capability of the armed forced to grow later in the decade
The extent of the cuts have been criticised in many quarters and have caused anger among service families.
However the impact of the cuts goes further than the immediate job losses.
Ian Godden, chairman of Aerospace, Defence and Security trade body ADS, has today reiterated his concern over the knock-on effect that redundancies will have on the UK defence sector. The sector currently contributes over £35 billion per year to the UK economy and employs around 300,000 people.
Responding to Mr Fox’s comments today Mr Godden said: “At a time when the Government is looking to support our Armed Forces, boost economic growth, increase the number of high-tech and long-term jobs and raise exports, it is paradoxically cutting the funding to an industry that can deliver strongly on these aims.”
Recognising the tough economic climate and the need to address Britain’s national deficit Mr Godden continued: “We recognise that the Government has to reduce the deficit and make hard choices given the financial situation that it faces but more regard should be been given to the long-term consequences of defence cuts on the UK’s export-driven, advanced engineering and manufacturing sectors.
“The defence sector provides high-quality employment across the whole of the UK, with a strong presence in otherwise highly-deprived areas.”
Mr Godden has previously estimated that reduction the UK defence budget will necessitate the loss of 20,000-30,000 jobs in industry over the next three years.
Mr Godden has also criticised Mr Fox’s “closed door” attitude to industry input on defence matters and the apparent trend for buying in defence and security capability from abroad rather than fostering it domestically.
Concluding his comments Mr Godden told TM: “We fully support the MoD in its drive to develop a balanced and affordable equipment programme, but this has to be based on realistic cost forecasts. This is urgent: the sooner this is achieved the better and industry will be able to plan its own investment to support the Armed Forces and the needs for Future Force 2020 and beyond.”