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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Don't starve successful sectors, aerospace & defence industry tells Treasury

07 April, 2009
The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) has today published its submission to Her Majesty's Treasury in advance of the 2009Budget, to be announced by the Chancellor Alistair Darling on April 22.
Thesubmission is on behalf of the £20bn a year UK aerospace, defence andsecurity sector. 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 amajor role in keeping the economy going until the recovery comes. However,the danger is that existing funding for our industry could be siphoned offto help struggling sectors elsewhere.

'We believe that this would be a mistake. When the global upturn begins theUK and our industry in particular will need to be ready to benefitimmediately. The only way that we can achieve this is for the Government tomaintain support for aerospace and defence. One still needs to water ahealthy plant if it is to continue to grow in the future.

'On Government priorities such as high-tech manufacturing, quality regionalemployment, skills, security and low carbon innovation, our sector isdelivering for the UK. We are not calling for a bail-out but continuedsupport from the Government will enable us to maintain our remarkableperformance as well as contribute to the economic recovery for the long-termbenefit of the country.'

On manufacturing and engineering Mr Godden said:

'The UK manufacturing and engineering successes that we represent aresomewhat special and can play a crucial role in rebalancing the UK economy.Even pharmaceuticals with a 4 per cent world share does not have theenviable UK global market share of 14 per cent in civil aviation and 10 percent in defence equipment. The motor industry, despite having double thenumber of employees, does not have the same level of high-skilled jobs andaerospace research and development intensity is second only topharmaceuticals in the UK.

'Competition for our sectors remains strong and as other nations look torebuild high-tech and secure industries such as ours will be attractive tothem. Sustaining investment in early stage research and development iscrucial to the ability of UK industry to compete for work on futureprogrammes, such as the forecast US$1 trillion single aisle replacement, andto continue to encourage inward investment.'

On export credit support Mr Godden said:

'Our members are grateful to the Government for the support that the ExportCredit Guarantees Department has been providing to our sector particularlyin recent months. We will continue to work with the Government to addressthe liquidity challenges which the civil aviation sector is facing.'
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