Defence Suppliers: Innovation

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 2017.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby 12:00 am, 27th November 2017

What steps he is taking to encourage innovation by defence suppliers.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The £800 million defence innovation fund provides great opportunities for innovative suppliers. For example, I can today announce that the defence, science and technology laboratories, working with industry and academia, have developed a cutting-edge new chemical process to recover fingerprints, making it harder for terrorists and criminals to escape justice.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

The Minister identifies great innovation within our suppliers, but does she also agree that an example is shown by the advanced induction motor technology—the most power-dense electric motors available anywhere—that have been installed on the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, which were manufactured by GE in my constituency?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to speak up for the amazing work being done in his constituency, not only for the carrier programme, but for the long-lead items for the Type 26 frigates.

Photo of Martin Whitfield Martin Whitfield Labour, East Lothian

The Government talk about wanting to increase the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in MOD procurement. Can the Minister tell us what steps have been taken to facilitate that?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

A range of steps have been taken to facilitate that. For example, we have a single website, which is meant to be an easy portal into what we are procuring at the MOD. We have shortened the contract we require small businesses to sign, from 18 pages down to three. We also have a system of people within the organisation who can help new businesses find their way around the intricacies of the MOD.