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Defence Suppliers: Innovation

Volume 632: debated on Monday 27 November 2017

The £800 million defence innovation fund provides great opportunities for innovative suppliers. For example, I can today announce that the defence, science and technology laboratories, working with industry and academia, have developed a cutting-edge new chemical process to recover fingerprints, making it harder for terrorists and criminals to escape justice.

The Minister identifies great innovation within our suppliers, but does she also agree that an example is shown by the advanced induction motor technology—the most power-dense electric motors available anywhere—that have been installed on the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, which were manufactured by GE in my constituency?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to speak up for the amazing work being done in his constituency, not only for the carrier programme, but for the long-lead items for the Type 26 frigates.

The Government talk about wanting to increase the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in MOD procurement. Can the Minister tell us what steps have been taken to facilitate that?

A range of steps have been taken to facilitate that. For example, we have a single website, which is meant to be an easy portal into what we are procuring at the MOD. We have shortened the contract we require small businesses to sign, from 18 pages down to three. We also have a system of people within the organisation who can help new businesses find their way around the intricacies of the MOD.