Defence and Security Industrial Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:49 pm on 23rd March 2021.

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Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 12:49 pm, 23rd March 2021

I cannot promise the hon. Gentleman a new home for the Sea Cadets, but I take what he says very seriously. As a result of his question, I will look into the matter and find out where we are. The cadets have an important role to play around the country and they should be properly housed, but I cannot answer with any more precision than that.

More broadly, the hon. Gentleman recognises the value to south Wales of the Ajax contract. It is an incredibly impressive, fully digitalised vehicle. He is right, though, that often in defence, the real value is found with SMEs. As I said, over 19% of our equipment and support spending goes to SMEs now. We will have a refreshed SME action plan published later this year, and it will include issues already raised as part of this thesis—for example, the defence technology exploitation plan, which has worked well in Northern Ireland, will be put out right across the Union. There are measures in the strategy to support smaller companies, and I want smaller companies, which are often the most innovative and inspiring in our country, to have the opportunity to win larger contracts. I thank him for his question.