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Is Treasury parsimony threatening the UK’s aerospace industry?

The UK’s aerospace industry is becoming increasingly concerned that the Treasury is blocking efforts to bring forward military spending, in order to help struggling aerospace and defence manufacturers.

A letter from the industry lobby group ADAS says that, despite the Ministry of Defence signalling that it would support the plan, the Treasury is unwilling to change the timing of spending commitments, worth billions of pounds.

Aerospace bosses want the government to accelerate their defence procurement programmes to aid companies hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and pressure is growing on the UK government after the French government unveiled a €15bn (£13.5bn) package for the sector and Airbus chief executive, Guillaume Faury, warned that its UK operations would face more permanent job losses than France or Germany without additional support.

With news that the government is looking to scale back its £5bn independent satnav rival to the EU’s Galileo project, announced with much fanfare in 2018, is government support for the sector failing to match the scale of the crisis the sector faces?

Government can only do so much, but with Rolls-Royce already cutting 9,000 job cuts and Bombardier shedding 600 jobs in Northern Ireland, the sector is hardly ‘crying wolf’.

A dynamic aerospace sector could play a critical role in supporting economic recovery, boosting R&D, and in generating long-term, high-value jobs.

Neil Tyler

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An additional spending commitment from the treasury on the same scale as the French commitment could-if handled properly- simultaneously bail out a strategically vital industry and resolve the shortfall in the MOD equipment budget over the next decade.

Posted by: Ian, 02/07/2020

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