The UK government has been given the go-ahead by the European Union to inject £60m into a GKN research project aimed at the development of lighter aircraft wing components.
Whitehall needed approval from the European Commission to ensure anti state aid rules were not flouted. The body said the loan is allowed as it is for research and is repayable with interest owing.
By developing lighter wing components, GKN hope to enable aeroplanes to use less fuel and therefore cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
Meanwhile, ADS, the UK’s aerospace, defence and security trade body, has condemned comments by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne alluding to possible defence spending cuts should his party prevail in the next General Election.
“Any future defence cuts would be very short-sighted,” said ADS spokesperson Matthew Knowles. “Cutting defence spending not only threatens to deprive our armed forces of the vital equipment that they need to protect us but it also threatens the UK’s economic recovery.”
He pointed out that the defence industry employs 300,000 people and hosts 10 per cent of UK manufacturing jobs.
“While other Government departments’ resources have increased, defence has seen its allocation fall from 4.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 1989 to 2.3 percent in 2009,” continued Knowles. “Any future Government looking to make savings should look at other departments because defence has already made its contribution. The operational and industrial impacts of those savings are currently being felt and further cuts would put intolerable pressure on our troops and our high-tech manufacturing capabilities.”
Osborne’s comments came at a conference organised by The Spectator magazine.