Satellites and Space: delivering growth for the UK economy

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has today published its report following an inquiry on ‘Satellites and Space’.

The inquiry examined the opportunities for innovation and growth across the UK space sector as well any issues which could be preventing further expansion.

Through its production of both up-stream and down-stream devices the space sector makes an important contribution to the UK economy. The sector is worth £11.8bn annually to the UK, with plans to grow this to £40bn by 2030. Directly employing over 34,000 people and more than 1,000 apprentices, the average output per worker in the space sector is three times higher than the UK average, helping to boost the UK’s productivity.

In our submission to the Science and Technology Committee we highlighted that in order to maintain and grow the UK’s global reputation as a space nation it is important that the government continues to support industry through the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy, and by aligning resources to international space priorities to boost innovation. The publication of the first National Space Policy is a welcome move towards growing turnover in the UK space sector to £40bn and creating 100,000 new jobs in the UK by 2030.

It is great to see that the Committee has recommended the establishment of a cross-government roadmap for using satellite data and developing space services. ADS supports the idea that through public procurement the government has the opportunity to act as an anchor tenant for new services delivered by the UK space industry. This significantly assists with promoting the export of these services to new markets, as well as improving the efficiency of public-sector services – government sponsorship of technology demonstrator missions will instil confidence from customers in the commercial market, who may be unwilling to take the risk of investing in new technologies.

We are encouraged by the recognition given to the UK space industry by the Science and Technology Committee. The UK’s space industry is a national success story – and a sector with the opportunity to grow significantly over the next 20 years. The diversity of technology and capabilities across the sector, as well as support from government, will help to ensure that the UK space industry delivers significant economic benefit and innovation in the future.