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Major UK industrial sector launches reports to reconnect with the country

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: 01 September, 2009  (Company News)
UK-based defence & security industry offers a path out of recession,supplies world-leading equipment to British armed forces, employs 300,000people across the UK and earns £5bn in export sales per year.
The Defence Industries Council (DIC) has today (Tuesday) published two majorreports setting out the vital nature of the Defence industry for the UnitedKingdom in terms of security, jobs and engineering excellence. The DIC aimsto highlight the role that the defence and security sector fulfils for theUK and the need to ensure its ongoing success. One report, produced byOxford Economics, looks at the economic contribution that the sector makesto national life while the second, from the DIC itself, examines the supportgiven to the UK’s armed forces by the industry.

The Defence industry is also concerned that the public no longer associatesthe country’s ability to defend itself with the capability to produce theequipment for our armed forces to fulfil this role. This risks overlookingthe country’s manufacturing, engineering and service excellence and how itis harnessed to equip and support the armed forces. The report thereforealso aims to reconnect the public with the industry and re-engage them indiscussing the wider issue of defence.

Defence costs every UK citizen £11 per week – the cost of a quarter of atank of petrol. However, despite this relatively modest budget - whencompared to other Government departments or historical levels of defencespending –what it buys is vital to the country and its interests.Furthermore, the defence and security sector reaches all corners of theeconomy and of the country. For example, practically every Parliamentaryconstituency has a connection to the defence and security industry.

Mike Turner, Chairman of the Defence Industries Council, said:

“As the economic frailties of the British economy become more apparent therehas perhaps never been a better opportunity to harness the full potential ofour world-class defence and security industrial base and use it as one ofthe paths out of recession. This will not only provide skilled jobs it willalso promote economic growth, help to balance our economy and enhance ournation’s defence against the growing threats - on our own streets andthroughout the world.

“Current global uncertainty means that the country has to be prepared forall eventualities. It is vital that the UK maintains and nurtures ahome-grown ability to stand up to all potential threats - conventional,nuclear or terrorist. This can only be done with a UK-based defenceindustry, responsive to the nation's needs. We are determined to highlightthe benefits the industry and its 300,000 employees deliver to the UK andits armed forces. We believe that, contrary to the prevailing mood inWestminster, now is the time to consider investing more for our futuresafety, not less.

“It is also the time to re-connect the UK defence community with the Britishpublic, not just those in uniform but also those from industry who supportthem at home and on operations overseas. Our aim going forward is tohighlight the efforts being made by the 300,000 hard-working people in thedefence and security sector and explain how it is pioneering new, morecost-effective methods for procuring, maintaining and upgrading militaryequipment for the armed forces so that they can protect our country and ourglobal economic interests.”

UK Defence and Security sector facts:

• Employs over 300,000 people across all regions of the UK;
• Consists of 9,000 companies of all sizes across the country;
• Has more small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) than France, Germany,Italy, Spain and Norway combined;• Had a turnover of around £35 billion in 2008;
• Exports on average £5 billion per year;
• Supplies 10 per cent of all manufacturing jobs in Britain;
• Has 13 out of The Times’ top 100 most sought after graduate employers(2008), more than in IT, legal or retail;
• Accounts for 5.6 per cent of Government spending (£38bn), compared to 13per cent on education (£88bn), 17.7 per cent on health (£119bn) and 28 percent (£189bn) on social protection;
• Generates 1.6 new jobs elsewhere in the economy for every new job createdin the defence industry;
• Exports are at the rate of four times more per worker than the automotivesector and is 15 per cent more productive than the UK manufacturing average;
• Delivers better value for money over the life of defence equipment andensures that the country retains vital skills with which to support Britisharmed forces in the field.

The reports also highlights:
• Cutting defence projects on financial grounds alone would becounter-productive. Instead these projects represent a route out ofrecession. A study by Oxford Economics shows that the defence and securitysector generates more significant benefits to the country (jobs, return tothe Exchequer, GDP impact, R&D investment and export potential) than othersectors. A £100m investment in defence leads to a £227m output;

• Defence and security enables the UK Government to target economicdecisions directly to benefit the economy. This can also lead to anincreased return on the investment via exports;

• The UK operates in coalitions across the globe but also needs to reserveits independence of action at times. To do so we need a domestic defenceindustry that prioritises the needs of the UK armed forces and to avoid anysupplier country preventing the UK from acting in its interests bywithholding equipment. The industry’s ability to supply and support themost advanced and effective equipment capable of standing up to anddefeating evolving threats is therefore an essential part of UK militarycapability.
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