Below is the text of the statement made by Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence, in the House of Commons on 5 March 2020.
I want to inform the House of our work to review the UK’s defence and security industrial sectors, which will inform the broader integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy.
The UK has built up a world-leading defence and security industrial base over many decades with a broad footprint across the UK, helping our armed forces and the broader national security community to deter or defeat any threat that presents itself. At the same time, these industries make a significant contribution to our prosperity through investment, exports, skills, and research and development. The defence and security industry employs hundreds of thousands of people—including thousands of apprentices—across the breadth of the Union, from building warships in Scotland and armoured vehicles in Wales, to manufacturing aircraft in England and satellites in Northern Ireland. Our industries are also at the forefront of technology development in creating new ways to prevent and defend against terrorism and serious organised crime. And on the international stage, UK defence and security companies play a crucial role in maintaining the UK’s global influence, underpinning our strategic partnerships with key allies.
Many of the UK’s defence and security companies are flourishing, but suppliers from large companies to small and medium-sized enterprises are also now facing a range of challenges for the future. They are impacted by the pace of technological change, the need for innovation and partnership, and increased competition from abroad, alongside the difficulty of sustaining necessary skills. We need to consider how to address these challenges and maximise potential opportunities.
The integrated review will define the long-term strategic aims for our national security and foreign policy and determine the capabilities and reforms needed to meet those aims. The review of the UK’s defence and security industrial sectors will support this work by considering how to ensure the UK continues to have competitive, innovative and world-class defence and security industries that drive investment and prosperity across the Union, and that underpin our national security now and in the future.
The Ministry of Defence will lead a cross-Government team to progress this work, engaging closely with industry, Parliament, and other stakeholders over the course of the review. The House will be kept informed as work progresses.