Election 2019: 5 aerospace sector priorities for new Government

Ahead of the UK general election in December, trade organisation ADS is calling on political parties to commit to investing in the defence and aerospace sectors' ambition for further growth.

ADS is the UK trade association for the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space industries. It comprises 1,100 member companies across these four sectors, with more than 950 of these companies identified as SMEs.

The organisation recently revised down its forecast for aircraft deliveries in 2019 for a second time, now to 1164 aircraft. While the rate is significantly slower than expected, deliveries made in 2019 are worth £22 billion to UK economy so far.

The backlog of aircraft orders remains high at 13,695 despite factors affecting the industry, including the grounding of the 737 MAX and a growing trade war between the US and Europe.

According to ADS, the next incoming Government should prioritise the following five policies to sustain the UK’s global competitiveness, as well as support continued growth and job creation.

Build on the successful partnership between Government and industry. This means driving an industrial strategy that attracts investment and supports growth.

ADS is calling for:

  • Ministerial commitment to continue growth partnerships across the aerospace and defence sectors that have a proven track record of return of investment.

  • Promote supply chain competitiveness by implementing and continuing programmes focusing on productivity improvement, export support and developing world-class skills.

Establish a close relationship with the EU that supports the aerospace sector's integrated European industry and sustains the UK’s global competitiveness

This would include:

  • Prioritising the continuation of frictionless trade to maintain the international competitiveness of UK supply chains.

  • Securing UK participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency and regulatory alignment that drives high standards and safety, protects the environment and facilitates market access.

  • Continuing inclusion in collaborative European Space and R&D programmes including the successor to Horizon 2020, to support UK investment in advanced research and innovation.

  • Maintaining a comprehensive defence and security partnership with the EU.

Invest in long-term innovation to secure the economic benefits from new technology and create a more sustainable future

ADS recommends:

  • Targeted investment alongside a long-term approach to R&D funding is needed to win business against our global economic competitors and develop technology to drive a sustainable economic future for the UK.

  • Long-term funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) would put the UK at the leading edge of the electric age of flight and move the UK towards its net zero targets.

Make the UK a global space leader by supporting the technology needed to improve people’s daily lives and tackle the biggest environmental challenges

This is achieved by:

  • Implementing an ambitious National Space Programme that prioritises industrial growth and national security, taking advantage of the UK’s strategic capabilities.

  • Delivering a national space innovation fund to support the commercialisation of research that will enable technologies of the future.

Develop a defence and security industrial strategy that drives UK prosperity and enhances national security

Key points:

  • Prioritise procurement factors that promote high-value jobs, intellectual property generation, skills and apprentices, and capital investment in the UK.

  • A strategy must look to promote a more coherent R&D pipeline, stimulate exports and initiate a plan to fill skills gaps.
ADS www.ads.org.uk

ADS Group

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