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Defence Industrial Policy

Volume 633: debated on Wednesday 20 December 2017

Today I am publishing the Defence Industrial Policy. This meets a commitment in the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House and on the website. Building on the national security through technology White Paper of 2012, the policy focuses on our overall engagement with defence industry, and how this is best structured to serve our national security objectives.

Industry, working alongside our armed forces and defence civilians delivers a crucial part of the United Kingdom’s national security objectives: to protect our people, project influence overseas and promote national prosperity. Industry delivers vital capabilities to our armed forces, and is an important part of the UK economy.

As a customer of the defence industry, the Government have a responsibility to obtain the right capability for our armed forces and to ensure value for money for the taxpayer in the goods and services that we buy. Alongside this, we also want to create an environment that encourages a thriving and globally competitive UK defence sector as an important part of our wider industrial base.

Since 2015, we have worked with business of all sizes to understand how we can support growth and competitiveness in the sector, as well as our wider national security objectives. The refreshed Defence Industrial Policy sets out the results of this work.

It identifies what has been achieved so far, as well as the areas where further work is needed. In defining how Government and industry can work together to generate value and strengthen our security, it is part of a continuing process of engagement.

There are three strands to our policy approach:

Improving the way defence delivers wider economic and international value, and national security objectives.

Helping UK industry in its plans to be internationally competitive, innovative and secure.

Making it easier to do business with defence, particularly for innovators, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and non-traditional defence suppliers.

We are committed to delivering value for money for defence and a fair return to industry by implementing the single source contracting regulations in new and modified non-competitive contracts, as set out in the Defence Reform Act 2014.

We will strengthen industrial collaboration with our key allies and partners, includingin the context of NATO, the US National Technology and Industrial Base and the European Technology and Industrial Base, with which UK industry and research will remain closely linked.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy, published in September 2017, sets out our approach for driving prosperity through export-led growth, competition and a focus on national and regional productivity and skills. It is an important pathfinder to improve the way we measure, assess and apply prosperity benefits in other areas of defence procurement.

To deliver this refreshed approach we will need to continue our close partnership with industry in the UK, while maintaining our commitment to open competition.