Refuel aerospace

The Society of British Aerospace Companies has called on the government to increase spending in aerospace and defence, ahead of the budget report on 22 April.


The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) has called on the government to increase spending in aerospace and defence, ahead of the budget report on 22 April.



In a formal submission, the SBAC has requested an increase in the budget of the Technology Strategy Board to act as the main source of funding for early-stage research.



Ian Godden, SBAC chief executive, said: ‘Amid all the talk of bail-outs, successful sectors can be ignored.


‘Aerospace and defence is an unsung success story for the UK that will play a major role in keeping the economy going until the recovery comes.


‘However, the danger is that existing funding for our industry could be siphoned off to help struggling sectors elsewhere.’



The SBAC has said there needs to be an £100m increase in spending for aerospace collaborative research and development budgets to provide future low-carbon technology products.


In addition, the Society wants the government to target investment in science, technology, engineering and maths education to improve the adult population’s skills levels.



Godden said: ‘When the global upturn begins, the UK and our industry in particular will need to be ready to benefit immediately.


‘On government priorities such as high-tech manufacturing, quality regional employment, skills, security and low-carbon innovation, our sector is delivering for the UK.


‘We are not calling for a bail-out, but continued support from the government will enable us to maintain our remarkable performance as well as contribute to the economic recovery for the long-term benefit of the country.’



The submission also asked the government to quantify and coordinate expenditure throughout government departments and reverse the long-term decline in investment in the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) research and technology budget.



Godden added: ‘The UK manufacturing and engineering successes that we represent are somewhat special and can play a crucial role in rebalancing the UK economy.


‘Even pharmaceuticals, with a 4 per cent world share, does not have the enviable UK global market share of 14 per cent in civil aviation and 10 per cent in defence equipment.


The motor industry, despite having double the number of employees, does not have the same level of highly skilled jobs, and aerospace research and development intensity is second only to pharmaceuticals in the UK.



‘Competition for our sectors remains strong, and as other nations look to rebuild, high-tech and secure industries such as ours will be attractive to them.


‘Sustaining investment in early-stage research and development is crucial to the ability of UK industry to compete for work on future programmes, such as the forecast $1 trillion single-aisle replacement, and to continue to encourage inward investment.’