The Ministry of Defence is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in the United Kingdom, with around 20,000 on a programme at any one time. We are investing in cutting-edge capabilities and research and development with the future combat air system technology initiative, resulting in more than 1,800 highly skilled engineers in 300 companies throughout the UK. The MOD spent £19.2 billion with UK industry and commerce in 2018-19, safeguarding and supporting thousands of jobs throughout the UK.
The Government are using the opportunity offered by leaving the EU to develop defence and security procurement regulations tailored to better meet the UK’s needs. We have embarked on a comprehensive review of the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 with a view to improving the pace and agility of acquisition.
Two years ago, MBDA’s high-tech manufacturing facility was officially launched in Bolton. As the Secretary of State for Defence said at the time, we cannot have prosperity without security. What good news can my right hon. Friend share with Boltonians in the run-up to Christmas and beyond?
I think the best news for Boltonians and fellow Lancashire constituents such as mine is that the Government’s record defence spending commitments for the integrated review mean that there will be money for the future combat air system, one of the mainstays of north-west aerospace. That is good news for MBDA in Bolton, good news for BAE, good news for the supply chain and good news for the thousands of people in the north-west who work in aerospace, and that is because the Government have invested in the future capabilities of sovereign aerospace.