EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and NDI, the trade body representing companies involved in the defence sector, are today urging MPs to back the Successor submarine programme at a vote in the House of Commons on Monday (18th July).
The vote will decide whether the UK will press ahead with a class of four new submarines to replace the Royal Navy’s existing Vanguard class. MPs will be asked to decide based on the UK’s current and future defence needs and the role that the Continuous At Sea Deterrent will play as part of the nation’s defences.
NDI and EEF, however, say that a commitment to the Successor programme will not only be key for the nation’s defences, but will also be a critical commitment to future UK manufacturing success. In a briefing sent to MPs ahead of Monday’s vote, and to Lords ahead of a House of Lords debate due to be held later today, the two bodies identify that the construction and through-life sustainment of the Successor submarines will support over 30,000 jobs in the UK.
They also highlight that the submarine supply chain involves up to 1,000 companies in every region of England, Scotland and Wales and Successor will provide them with valuable long-term business opportunities.
The programme is a major national investment programme of a scale similar to HS2 (£55.7billion). This represents a major opportunity for the steel industry in addition to the UK defence supply sector and wider manufacturing.
As a result, the two bodies have called on Government to ensure that mandatory steel policy guidance is adhered to and that the use of British steel content is maximised.
Other key asks are for Government to ensure that supply side opportunities are made open to all firms regardless of size and that support is provided particularly to SMEs through investment in supply chain partnerships. Importantly, the programme will enhance the UK’s international reputation for providing innovative engineering and technological solutions - the Government should seek all opportunities to assist in the export of this success.
Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, says: “The Successor programme is an opportunity for the Government to show firm commitment to the nation’s defence as well as to British industry – a message that many will view as critical, particularly in light of the UK leaving the EU.
“The building and maintenance of these four submarines will support over 30,000 jobs in the UK and provide valuable long-term business opportunities for up to 1,000 supply chain firms across the UK. This project could also be a game-changer for the UK steel sector if mandatory steel policy guidance is adhered to and the use of British steel content is maximised.
“With so much to play for, it is clear that this programme demonstrates the type of strategic investment required if Britain is to achieve its ambition of being a major player on the global stage.”
Andy Collier, Director of NDI, says: “The Successor programme is a major national investment programme of a scale similar to HS2. It will ensure that Britain’s proud 115 year record of making submarines will continue, and that will support jobs and ensure we retain vital skills in our economy.
“It is of course critical that the wealth of opportunity is made open and accessible to firms of all sizes across the UK. Every effort must be made to ensure that manufacturers feel supported and enabled to bid for contracts and to become part of the defence supply chain. By doing this the UK can harness innovation and new technology from across the widest spectrum and this will only serve to strengthen the Successor programme and its positive economic impact.”
NDI and EEF’s briefing for Government can be viewed here.