Ministry of Defence Contracts

Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 29 April 2024.

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Photo of Harry Harvey Harry Harvey DUP 3:00, 29 April 2024

8. Mr Harvey asked the Minister for the Economy to outline what discussions his Department has had with the Ministry of Defence to increase the number of contracts awarded to small to medium-sized enterprises in Northern Ireland. (AQO 360/22-27)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

The aerospace sector has over 100 companies, employs 8,000 workers and contributes an estimated £1·9 billion to the local economy. Invest NI, supported by the Department, engages with the MoD across several forums. In 2022-23, MoD spend per head was £100 here, compared with £380 in Scotland and England and £250 in Wales. Invest NI works closely with the ADS trade association to lobby for additional spend here.

Photo of Harry Harvey Harry Harvey DUP

I thank the Minister for his answer. He will be aware that there is huge potential to maximise Ministry of Defence spend in Northern Ireland. My figures are slightly different from his — a meagre £60 per head of population here compared with £340 in the rest of the UK. What support can the Department give to businesses that seek to tender for Ministry of Defence contracts?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

Invest NI is already working in that space, with both the MoD and the ADS trade association, to lobby for additional spend and facilitate companies that want to get into that area of work. That work will continue.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

We will move to topical questions.