We aim to maximise the benefit for the UK from new technologies and know-how developed through defence research. Our science and technology organisation, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, DSTL, exploits those results through its technology transfer company, Ploughshare Innovations Limited, which we estimate will have contributed over £200 million to export value by 2018 and generated over 500 jobs. On Friday, I will launch our plans for a new approach to further exploiting innovation in defence.
During the recess, I spent some special time with the Government Chief Whip, the right hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Gavin Williamson), and the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) visiting the Signal Regiment at Stafford barracks. As we continue to draw down from Germany, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are enjoying an influx of highly trained personnel and, with them, the potential growth of telecoms businesses. May I urge the Secretary of State to hold a meeting with the Stoke and Staffs local enterprise partnership to see how the Ministry of Defence can help to ensure that local businesses enjoy some input to their growth from the arrival of highly trained personnel and their military research at Stafford barracks?
I am happy to help to facilitate that meeting with the defence procurement Minister. I am aware there are a number of companies in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency that have already submitted proposals to the Centre for Defence Enterprise. I think they have received some feedback. We are as anxious as he is that we capture that know-how for the future.
I welcome the Government’s recent partnership agreement with Leonardo’s helicopters division on research into unmanned aerial vehicles. Will Ministers work with me to help to maximise the effect this will have on supporting design and engineering jobs in Yeovil?
We are very happy to do that. My hon. Friend will recall that at Farnborough we announced the signing of a 10-year strategic partnering arrangement with Leonardo, one of the most important defence companies based in Britain. I hope that that will help to enhance jobs in his constituency through further export success, and through the right technology and innovation that also meet our defence requirements.