Unite to warn MPs that UK defence risks being subject ...

Unite to warn MPs that UK defence risks being subject to ‘whim’ of foreign powers

28 November 2017

Britain’s largest union, Unite will urge the government to protect the UK’s defence capability by backing Britain’s defence workers when it gives evidence to the House of Commons defence select committee today (Tuesday 28 November).

With BAE Systems seeking to slash nearly 2,000 jobs in its aerospace and marine divisions, Unite will warn that the UK’s ability to independently design and manufacture defence equipment could be lost unless the government steps in and backs programmes such as the advanced Hawk jet aircraft.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner will be joined by BAE Systems shop stewards to give evidence to MPs on the influential committee. During the evidence they are expected to heavily criticise the government’s defence procurement strategy which will see a quarter of UK government spending on defence equipment being spent in factories in the United States by 2020.

The evidence session starts at 15:00 and can viewed via

Commenting ahead of the session, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The government appears to be actively undermining the UK’s ability to independently manufacture defence equipment. By 2020 nearly 25 pence in every pound of defence spending will go to supporting jobs in US factories rather than here in the UK.

“It is self-defeating. Not only does it undermine the UK’ sovereign defence capability, it also undermines the government’s desire to have a joined up industrial strategy.

“The crossover between defence and civilian manufacturing is well known and the economic benefits of defence manufacturing to communities across the UK significant. For every pound of defence spend spent here in the UK, 36 pence flows right back to Treasury, even before your consider the multiplier effect of such investment.

“The UK government should be backing Britain’s world class defence workers by spending the defence budget here in the UK and investing in world beating projects such as the advanced Hawk programme.

“A failure to do so will result in the defence of the realm being outsourced to overseas nations and our defence being subject to the whim of foreign powers and corporations.”

For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
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Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.