Defence: Industrial Strategy - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:03 pm on 27 February 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour 3:03, 27 February 2017

My Lords, although I like the cut of the noble Earl’s jib, which is not surprising considering his naval pedigree, I am disappointed by the Answer. There is a complete absence of analysis of the defence industrial base and no proper study of its real costs. These were identified in the King’s College study instigated by the noble Lord, Lord Sterling, but nothing seems to have been done to focus on them. We know very well the value for this nation of things such as the agile supply cycle, but we also know their value in terms of jobs, through not having to pay welfare payments or unemployment benefit. There are all these benefits, yet we do a simple calculation of costs, which does not make sense. Does the Minister not agree that we have to look very closely at the real cost of equipment and weapons before we decide to buy from abroad, with a loss of jobs, a loss of agility and a loss of ability to keep running our systems here, and that we really must get the balance right rather than taking the simplistic approach of saying, “This costs £4 there and £5 here”?