Unite, the UK’s leading manufacturing union, has called on the prime minister to provide cast iron guarantees that the government’s announcement of increased defence spending will lead to defence procurement decisions prioritising research and development, engineering and manufacturing here in the UK to help support skilled jobs and boost the economy.

Must benefit UK firms

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The announcement on defence spending is welcome and should be good news for the UK’s aerospace and shipbuilding sectors.

 “The defence secretary Ben Wallace has promised that the increased spending will benefit UK firms and we will ensure his feet are held to the fire until he delivers on this commitment.

 “The prime minister must provide very clear cast iron guarantees that UK defence procurement will prioritise spending taxpayers money here in the UK, protecting UK jobs, skills and technology. Guarantees that must extend to the supply of key components and materials such as steel and fibre-optic cabling used in these projects.

“The UK’s plans for extending the UK’s space capabilities and the investment earmarked for the development of the future combat air system, should act as a shot in the arm for the UK’s aerospace sector, which has suffered an economic battering as a result of the Covid pandemic.

“This is a sovereign capability issue and our members have shown for decades they have the talent, skills and commitment to supporting our nation’s defence to play their part in meeting this goal."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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