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SBAC - UK Budget 2009 ? UK aerospace and defence industry reaction

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: 23 April, 2009  (Company News)
The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC), the UK’s aerospace, defence and security trade association, has today (Wednesday) reacted to the Chancellor’s Budget speech to the House of Commons as follows:
Ian Godden, SBAC Chief Executive, said:

“Today’s Budget did not do enough to support the manufacturing success story that is the aerospace and defence sector. The Government is seeking to rebalance the economy with a greater contribution from manufacturing but it has missed an opportunity to use our sector to do so today.

“Aerospace and defence is worth £20 billion per year to the UK economy, delivering hundreds of thousands of jobs across all regions of the country and providing a positive balance of trade. It is well-placed to make a major contribution to the country’s economic recovery. However, our success appears to count against us.

“We are concerned that funding that will deliver further returns from our sector might be diverted to areas where such a positive outcome is by no means assured. Our aim now is to work with the Government to demonstrate that it needs to maintain its current commitments to our sector to ensure current economic benefits are not lost, holding back the ability of the
British economy to recover from the current downturn.”

On exports Mr Godden said:

“The Chancellor stated that he would like to use exports in the recovering global economy to boost Britain. The UK aerospace and Defence industry is a world-leader, contributing a positive balance of trade for Britain. It is already helping to keep the UK economy afloat and will do a great deal to assist Britain in the economic recovery. However, the opportunity that
aerospace and defence provides for exports is not fully exploited and resourced for maximum effect.

“The Chancellor’s announcement of a report on how to improve the support given by the Export Credits Guarantee Department is welcome. It is essential for our performance as exporters, and we look forward to examining the review’s findings that we hope are made available as soon as possible.”

On low carbon industries and advanced manufacturing Mr Godden said:

“Green collar jobs should include employment in aerospace. Investment in aerospace will enable aviation to keep the global economy moving whilst we deliver on continuously lower aircraft emissions – an aircraft today produces 70 per cent less CO2 than 50 years ago. We hope that today’s investment announcements for low carbon and advanced manufacturing industries will include support for the highly successful UK Aerospace industry that employs over 120,000 people across the UK regions.

“With the average aircraft operating in the UK being as fuel efficient as a hybrid car, and the Airbus A380 – a third of which is made in the UK – performing even better we are delivering for the public on their demands for sustainable aviation. The future market for new short range aircraft will be worth US$1 trillion over the next 20 years and creates an opportunity to introduce cleaner, quieter aircraft. The UK must seize this opportunity and support from the Government will deliver enormous benefits for Britain’s economy and the global environment.”

On defence spending Mr Godden said:

“We were disappointed that neither the overall defence budget or defence research and technology funding specifically were boosted in today’s speech. The Government has increased its overseas commitments without a real-terms rise in defence spending that today is half the level it was twenty years ago.

“Our armed forces are being asked to do more with less and defence research and technology funding has fallen by 7 per cent this year. At around £500 million per year it is a small proportion of the Government’s spending but it is the foundation on which the technology for our armed forces’ future capability is based. This decline in funding is storing up future problems
for our troops and our industrial base and it should have been addressed today.”

On education, skills and training Mr Godden said:

“The aerospace and Defence industry employs highly-skilled people across all regions of the UK in jobs that pay well above the national average. We provide a large number of apprenticeships and employ a large proportion of the UK’s science, engineering and maths graduates. Today’s announcement on more higher education places is therefore very welcome.”

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