Defence Industry: Scotland

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Ged Killen Ged Killen Labour/Co-operative, Rutherglen and Hamilton West 4:30 pm, 30th April 2019

I absolutely agree with the hon. Gentleman. I will touch on that point later in my remarks.

Although we must continue to support shipbuilding, the UK and Scottish Governments must focus on diversifying and deepening the defence industry in Scotland to ensure that there will always be a base for the high-skill and high-value roles associated with the industry—that is eminently achievable. Scotland is well placed to be a home for a variety of new industries. With strong universities and a history of manufacturing and design excellence, we are ideally placed to take advantage of the large demands of the UK’s defence. This debate gives Members the opportunity to discuss future high-growth areas and draw attention to the advantages of increasing diversity in the defence industry. For my part, I will touch on two high-growth areas: space and land vehicles.

Glasgow in particular has become a pioneering centre for the deployment of microsatellites, producing more satellites than any other city outside the United States. As future defence concerns rely increasingly on the gathering and analysis of information, significant space assets will be vital to the day-to-day operations of the armed forces in both military and non-military operations.

The space sector has huge potential for future growth. Year-on-year growth in the sector has been five times greater than in the wider economy since 1999, and the sector has tripled in value since 2000. Each new job in the space sector adds £140,000 of added value per employee, and the overall sector receives 36% of turnover from exports.