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Defence investment to support and create thousands of manufacturing jobs
Boris Johnson has confirmed a £16.5bn investment over four years for the UK’s armed forces, an announcement that will have a positive impact on the manufacturing companies that support and play an integral role in the defence sector.
Combined with its manifesto commitment of a 0.5% uplift in defence investment, the total increase is a substantial £24.1bn. The government says the announcement funds a generational modernisation of the armed forces, defending the UK against future threats, cementing Britain’s role as a leader in NATO and stimulating thousands of highly skilled jobs across the UK. A radical program of innovation and modernisation will create up to 10,000 jobs a year and support thousands more.
The investment will underpin the revitalisation of shipbuilding, funding a significant expansion of Royal Navy vessels to create the biggest surface fleet of modern warships in Europe. The investment further confirms an order of eight Type 26 and five Type 31 frigates, a commitment to the next generation Type 32, along with supporting the future solid support ships that will supply the Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group.
An additional £1.5bn will be poured into military research, including for the Future Combat Air System delivered by Team Tempest.
Defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “This is excellent news for defence, and provides us with the financial certainty we need to modernise, plan for the future, and adapt to the threats we face. It demonstrates the Prime Minister’s recognition of how important defence is to our resilience, and to the reputation of the United Kingdom.
“This settlement secures UK jobs and livelihoods, allows us to invest in our fantastic shipyards and aerospace industry, spreading prosperity to every corner of the UK. Next year represents a huge opportunity for this country, and defence will be at the forefront of creating the jobs and business opportunities that will help us build back from the pandemic. Over the next few months, I will set out in more detail our ambitious agenda for defence.”
The Prime Minister also announced a new agency dedicated to developing artificial intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber Force and a new ‘Space Command’ that will protect the UK’s interests in space and control the UK’s first satellite launched from a UK rocket by 2022.
ADS chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: “This is a major and welcome commitment from the Government to invest in UK defence and security capabilities, creating 10,000 new UK jobs annually in high-value industries.
“This investment will boost our national security, help the UK address new and rapidly evolving threats by developing innovative world-class equipment, and support our economic recovery. The commitment to key projects will embed high-value design and manufacturing skills in all regions and nations of the UK for decades to come.
“It is important that the procurement regime delivers quickly and in a manner that prioritises UK industrial impact, aiding planning and clarity and helping to build back better. We look forward to publication of the Integrated Review in early 2021 and industry stands ready to ensure implementation of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy best supports the contribution made to UK prosperity.”
The UK defence R&D pipeline already supports over 400,000 skilled jobs and the cash injection will also enable other technologies including autonomous vehicles, swarm drones, and cutting-edge battlefield awareness systems to be developed for military use.