Harriett Baldwin visits Scottish SMEs
Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, has been spending time with Scottish SMEs to promote UK investment, innovation and support for Scottish industry.
Meeting employers and apprentices near Edinburgh, the Minister also met Scottish SMEs at the Defence Suppliers Forum, held at defence company Leonardo’s facility near Edinburgh. The Forum builds relationships between businesses and Government through face-to-face meetings and candid discussion.
With some £1.5Bn of MOD monies invested in Scottish businesses last year, the defence industry supports 9,700 jobs across Scotland. The Royal Navy’s construction of the new Queen Elizabeth Carriers is being carried out in Rosyth, while the new Offshore Patrol Vessels are under construction in Govan and Scotstoun.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “Scotland is on the front line defending the United Kingdom from growing threats on land, air, and sea; and the Government is listening to Scottish business and building skills to keep the UK safe, secure, and prosperous.
“This is yet more evidence of our unquestionable commitment to defence and industry in Scotland, as our rising defence budget and £178bn equipment plan supports Scottish business, jobs, and skills far into the future.”
Following the Forum, Mrs Baldwin recognised the winners of the Raytheon SME supply chain awards at the company’s Glenrothes plant, where it employs over 600 engineers and technicians. Amongst the winners, were North Lanarkshire company, Link Cable Assemblies, who received the Enabling Business Growth Award.
Apprenticeships were also a key element of the visit with Mrs Baldwin visiting 24 graduates and 24 apprentices on Raytheon’s programmes this year, as well as some of the Raytheon STEM Ambassadors, who visit schools to teach pupils about aerodynamics, autonomy, and control systems.
The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review committed to spending 25% of procurement money with SME suppliers by 2020. To achieve this an £800M innovation fund has been created to fund to encourage imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. The goal is to work more effectively with businesses across the UK – and particularly with SMEs, which might not normally think of themselves as Defence suppliers.
The MOD has also launched a refreshed Supplier Portal and an improved Contracts platform linked to the Defence and Security Accelerator to assist SME development.
Image: © Crown Copyright Pictured are events from today’s Queen Elizabeth naming ceremony conducted at Rosyth Dockyard.
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