F-35 Contracts

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons on 27th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of F-35 contracts on (a) industry in and (b) exports from Wales.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

Again there is no stronger voice for Wales than that of my right hon. Friend, who has a long-standing interest in Wales. Yesterday I met the Minister with responsibility for defence procurement, my hon. Friend Stuart Andrew to discuss the F-35 contract. The recent announcement puts Wales right at the centre of the global F-35 partnership. It is the largest defence programme in history.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

It was a great pleasure to visit the F-35 factory in Fort Worth in the summer of 2016, and of course the F-35 has a huge UK content to it, so does my hon. Friend agree that these contracts show the immense contribution being made by the Welsh defence industry to the UK economy and exports overall?

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

The aerospace and defence industries are in very good health in Wales. In financial year 2017-18, the UK Government spent £960 million with the Welsh defence industry and commerce; that is up from £946 million. This supports an estimated 6,300 jobs in Wales and the half a billion pound F-35 contract is to be welcomed right across this House.

Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Labour, Wrexham

Will the Minister meet with aerospace businesses such as Tritech, Magellan and Solvay in Wrexham to ensure that in the event of a no-deal Brexit we maximise spend within the UK to benefit our businesses?

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

I certainly would agree to meet with the aerospace industry. I have already visited a number of companies. I am also committed to holding a roundtable on this very subject and I am more than happy to meet with the hon. Gentleman as well to discuss this further.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party

Given the huge challenges that the steel industry and car manufacturers face in Wales, as well as in the rest of the UK, even at this late stage, would it not be better if the Secretary of State and the rest of the Government committed Britain to staying in the customs union?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

The hon. Gentleman raises this issue on the European Union. He voted against the Prime Minister’s deal. That makes no deal far more likely. The only way to secure a smooth, orderly exit from the European Union is to support the Prime Minister’s deal when the meaningful vote comes back to this House.