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Aerospace Sector: Innovation

Volume 672: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2020

The hon. Gentleman, as chair of the all-party parliamentary group on aerospace, will know that aerospace is a high-value growth sector driven by innovation, which is why the Government and the industry are co-investing £3.9 billion up to 2026 in aerospace research and development and a further £300 million in the future flight challenge.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. The UK leads the world in aerospace technology, but it faces the same pressures as other sectors with regard to environmental sustainability, so may I urge him to increase long-term funding for the industry so that we can retain our global lead while meeting the challenge of net zero?

The hon. Gentleman raises an important question. The Prince of Wales and I co-chaired a deep dive at the Whittle laboratory, with the whole industry around the table, to consider how we can deliver on net zero for the industry. We were targeting a fully electric aircraft that, at 500 miles, could cover most of Europe and take 180 passengers, and of course we are looking at other technologies for longer haul flights. We are also creating the innovators of the future with 500 additional master’s level postgraduate places for aerospace.