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Aerospace Businesses

Volume 652: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2019

You are racing ahead, Mr Speaker; we had got so far behind.

My hon. Friend should know that we are strongly supporting the aerospace industry through our aerospace growth partnership, which includes supporting business with nearly £2 billion of public research and development funding from 2013 to 2026. The sector deal for aerospace includes £125 million of funding to support the electrification of flight, developing new aircraft technologies and transport concepts. I am sure that will be excellent for your future holidays, Mr Speaker.

What plans do Ministers have to extend the Sharing in Growth scheme in the aerospace industry? It has helped Congleton business Senior Aerospace Bird Bellows to improve productivity and secure new orders. The company is very much looking forward to receiving the Minister on his planned visit to Congleton in March.

I am very much looking forward to seeing my hon. Friend on that visit. We are in dialogue with senior management at Sharing in Growth about the scope to extend the programme further, and that will continue ahead of the comprehensive spending review.

The Space Studio School in Feltham, started by the Rivers Academy, continues to innovate, bringing about high-quality science education and industry-related work, and engaging with the National Space Centre, the European Space Agency, NASA and the aerospace industry around Heathrow. Does the Minister agree that even stronger relationships between schools and industry are vital to ensure that we stay competitive? Will he agree to visit the Space Studio in west London to see what is being done there and what more can be done to improve opportunities for young people?

The Minister will be aware of the problems as well as the possibilities for Bombardier in east Belfast, as my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast East (Gavin Robinson) has raised them consistently. Given the job loss announcements several weeks ago, will he undertake to do whatever he can on the possibilities for expansion next year?

The hon. Gentleman knows, I hope, that Bombardier is a company close to my heart. I speak regularly to him and his colleagues and to the company, and I will do anything I can to ensure that company’s prosperity.