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Protect UK aerospace

SURVIVE RECOVER REBUILD

The UK aerospace industry is colossal. It is the largest in Europe and third largest globally, employing over 102,000 people directly and generating over £38bn for the UK economy every year. See just how much it contributes, read our economic report here

But this world-leading industry is struggling to survive due to the fallout from Covid-19. Jobs losses have already been announced at world class companies like Airbus and Rolls-Royce, hit by the sudden drop in aircraft orders caused by the massive downturn in aviation.

Without an urgent government support package, tens of thousands more highly skilled jobs and quality apprenticeships could disappear from our shores altogether. France and Germany have stepped up to protect their industries for future generations. The UK government must do the same. 

Help save UK jobs and skills
EMAIL YOUR MP NOW

 Ask your MP to help keep UK aerospace world leading, demand a strategic support package for the industry.  Simply enter your postcode in the box below to find your MP. We’ve drafted a model letter, but it’s much more powerful if you write your own. You can adapt the letter or delete the entire thing and start again.

Unite is calling for the UK government to partner with the aerospace industry on a programme for the sector to SURVIVE, REBUILD and RECOVER.

SURVIVE
A bold UK government intervention and strategy to support the sector similar in scope and ambition to that unveiled by the French and Germany governments. This strategy should be driven by a national taskforce that includes Unite and other key stakeholders with an aim to maintain the UK's leading global position.

Adaptation and continuation of the government’s job retention scheme (JRS) including a shorter working week scheme, such as the one in Germany which has helped, for example keep Rolls-Royce jobs losses to 5% while in the UK 25% of jobs are being lost.
Government support must come with water-tight conditions including keeping jobs and manufacturing in the UK on projects such as the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) and Airbus's 'Wings of Tomorrow' programme.

REBUILD
A government-supported aircraft replacement scheme to help the aviation sector dramatically reduce its carbon footprint. New aircraft on average use 25% less fuel, emit 25% less CO2 and produce 50% less noise. Production and parts must come from the UK.

Investment in UK defence programmes. The UK government must give a long-term commitment to the future fighter Tempest programme and to its own version of the European Union’s Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS). This is about national sovereignty and national security, defending not just the economy but the nation too.

Diversification through ground-breaking new UK technologies. For example, Rolls- Royce's Small Modular Reactor (SMR), which requires £500 million Risk and Reward funding to bring it to market but has the potential to exploit a multi-billion-pound global market and contribute to reducing greenhouse emissions around the world.

Research and Development needs to be increased and the current 50/50 ratio between government and companies changed to 80/20 to bring us in line with those of France and Germany. This will enable bringing new green technologies quickly to market and being made in the UK including electrification, composites, and sustainable aviation fuels.

RECOVER
Continued support for aerospace apprenticeships to close the growing skills gap across an ageing workforce. We also need flexibility with the government apprenticeship levy so, for example, companies can draw on their funds to support apprentices in their UK supply chain. Again, UK government support must come with conditions to aerospace companies to maintain and continue with apprenticeships.

Taking the right path. We are at cross-roads for the UK aerospace industry. If we do not quickly see large-scale government intervention and a strategy, we will severely damage the long-term health and resilience of major companies and SMEs in the sector, losing our leading global position while competitors who have intervened with an overall supportive strategy move ahead.

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Read the Acuity Aerospace report