Commenting on business minister Alok Sharma’s announcement of £200 million worth of grants for the aerospace industry today (Monday 20 July), Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said:

“These grants through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) will bring some support for wing, engine, power and cabin systems development. But while these grants offer a 50/50 investment split with industry, in France and Germany the R&D ratio is 80 per cent from government and 20 per cent from industry. 

“Compared to the overall levels of assistance provided by our European neighbours for their aerospace industries, which have also been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, is it clear that UK ministers are not doing enough.

“The UK still does not have an in-depth strategy of support that countries such as France, Germany and the US have put in place. 

“Unlike France, Germany, Spain and The Netherlands, we are lacking a government aircraft replacement scheme to stimulate the aerospace industry and get more environmentally friendly planes in the sky.

“The German government has also recognised the need to provide flexible support, including short time working for aerospace jobs to stop redundancies, retain skills and protect the economy. The UK government has yet to put forward any such measures for when the furlough scheme ends in October. 

“Nor have ministers established an aerospace investment fund to support our domestic supply chain, like the French government has done.

 “UK aerospace workers and companies are crying out for a bold strategy of support for our best in class aerospace industry, a sector that with the right support will repay back into local, regional and national UK economies over and over again.”


For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.


Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

Notes to editors: 

Unite’s plan for the industry is based around three clear aims for the sector: Survive, Rebuild and Recover. The full details can be read here but in summary embrace:


Sector support similar in scope and ambition to that unveiled by the French and Germany governments. Continuation of the government’s job retention scheme (JRS) plus a shorter working week scheme, which has been effective in saving German jobs.


A government-supported aircraft replacement scheme to help the aviation sector dramatically reduce its carbon footprint. Production and parts must come from UK.

Research and Development 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. 


Continued support for aerospace apprenticeships to close the growing skills gap across an ageing workforce.