DIT Launches plan to support the Space Sector

This blog is written by Sam Sears, Public Affairs Adviser, ADS

This week a group of government departments led by the Department of International Trade (DIT) launched the Space Sector COVID Support Plan (SSCSP) to ensure UK space manufacturers can weather the storm and ‘build back better’ in the longer term.

Despite the sector’s high resilience, ADS members operating in Space have felt the effects of the pandemic. 47% of UK Space sector companies saw a reduction in international demand over the past year. The government, recognising the ever-important role in space, from our daily video calls to tracking the melting of the polar ice caps, has set out a five-point plan ‘united in its determination to establish itself as a global space power’.

Goals and Objectives

The plan seeks to establish an ‘Export Academy’ to build the skills and knowledge among SMEs. DIT and the Foreign Office will use ‘GREAT’ promotional material internationally to help attract investment in the space sector. This will fit into the wider plan of creating cross-government structures for a coordinated approach for the sector and crucially this group will consult industry for policy and regulation changes. These steps aim to provide the strategic grounds for returning to post COVID-19 levels of investment and output.

Investment Promotion

With external investment plummeting in 2020, a key priority for DIT is to see a return to pre-COVID-19 rates to provide industry with the necessary boost in cashflow and R&D. The support plan seeks to attract foreign funding from a diverse range of nations including Japan, India, the US and Gulf States.

Government Coordination

A key component in achieving a rapid recovery is a unified approach across government departments. The report was developed across six Government Departments and Agencies, which all agreed the support the report is a testament to the need for clear operational oversight and cooperation in the space sector. Greater cooperation across government allows SMEs to navigate bureaucracy and have greater access to the full array of support available.

Export Support

The plan highlights the issues SMEs may have in navigating the complex world of exporting around the globe in the space sector. To help combat this the DIT will launch a new Export Academy in Leicester which can provide specialist sub-sector specific knowledge to SMEs in the space sector.

Conclusion

These are exciting developments which will project Space into a central part of the government agenda. The plans will allow the groundwork for ADS member companies in the space sector to access the support and information need to make UK Space a global leader and improve their businesses.

ADS has recently launched its new Space Sector Community to help represent ADS Members in the space sector. The Community aims to provide members with intelligence on current and forthcoming business opportunities, provide a platform for members to network and demonstrate their solutions, stimulate collaboration activities and attract high level briefings from government officials. To find out more and join please click here