Restart and Recovery: UK Defence Procurement – A Catalyst for Recovery

Collaboration to keep Defence working

Over the past weeks and months UK industry has played its part in the great efforts that have been made by Government, and in particular the Ministry of Defence (MOD), in response to COVID-19. UK industry has been crucial to supporting Defence priorities and the MOD’s support to businesses through practical means such as travel authorities has been a great help.

Similarly, UK defence businesses have contributed to national requests for support with the production of ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as supporting the MOD in civil response activities such as establishing the Nightingale Field Hospitals. UK Defence, both public and private, has demonstrated cooperation, agility, and resilience at a time of national crisis.

ADS believes that it is these traits that should be built upon and applied to the challenges of national ‘restart and recovery’. As the UK looks to secure economic growth and support the productivity of our supply chain businesses it is vital that key elements of the prosperity agenda are fully realised. As many parts of our industry has not stopped working, at some capacity, in recent months the UK’s Defence industry is well placed to be a catalyst for economic recovery.

Stimulating Economic Recovery

ADS believes that by accelerating a number of planned defence programmes, activities and through placing orders and work with industry earlier that this will help maintain activity in the supply chain and stimulate activity in adjacent sectors.

As the monopsony customer in the UK market Government has huge procurement power; ADS encourages the Government to take a more flexible approach to major capital investment projects and defence programmes that have large technology spill-over potential.

UK Defence’s close technology links to sectors such as aerospace, maritime, automotive, digital technologies, automation and robotics are ideal opportunities to investigate further. Increasing the investment and activity in UK Defence would bring spillover benefits to a number of other industries, especially benefitting supply chain companies, many of whom often supply products and services across sectors.

ADS members have identified a list of areas of defence and space activity (S&T, R&D, innovation and capability) that may present ideal opportunities for an acceleration in timescales to stimulate activity within the defence supply chain. These opportunities have been shared with MOD and BEIS for further consideration.

To read about our five priorities for Restart & Recovery, click here.