18 Mar 2019

Defence Secretary announces Defence Prosperity Programme

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced plans for a Defence Prosperity Programme to improve the UK economy.

The Defence Prosperity Programme aims to boost the sector’s contribution to the economy and improve productivity. The measures were announced ahead of the Defence Prosperity Conference after last year’s review of the economic value of defence.

The July 2018 review was published by Phillip Dunne MP and found that the sector supports 260,000 jobs and around £7billion in exports per year on average. The new plan includes investment in industry and new ideas as well as a hub for business and defence to share ideas.

Gavin Williamson said: “Our world-class defence sector operates at the very forefront of innovation, supporting 260,000 jobs and increasing economic growth throughout the UK.”

“The MOD is playing a central role in the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy and prosperity agenda, ensuring the UK remains a world-leader in defence technology in the years to come.”

The MOD will invest £500,000 from the Defence Innovation Fund to start a collaboration programme with industry and will fund the Northern Ireland Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to create a Defence Technology Exploitation Programme estimated to be worth £1.2million. They have also promised to collaborate with the Welsh Government on a DECA Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute.

The proposals also include plans for a Joint Economic Data Hub connecting Defence and industry from within the UK Defence Solution Centre. The hub will be overseen by an independent advisory panel and will collect and analyse data from across defence.

The MOD invested £18.9billion in British industry in 2017-2018 supporting an estimated 115,000 jobs. It is hoped that the new measures will increase innovation in Defence and allow them to access new ideas and businesses.

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