Good evening, and thank you for joining us.

I would particularly like to welcome our ADS members, Lords, Ladies, Ministers of the UK Government, Scottish and Welsh Government representatives, members of the Northern Ireland Executive, parliamentarians, security services personnel and civil servants.  I know it’s not fashionable but I would also like to give a special welcome to our members – and ex members – of the Armed Forces, and also to say thank you for your service.

It is great to see so many familiar and new faces here today, though I must say with a record-breaking 1200 people here it’s really hard to tell!

This year, the UK stands at cross-roads.

Growing global competition, proliferating international security challenges, the rapid pace of technological development, and the pressing need to develop a more resilient and sustainable economy are challenges that must be addressed if the next Government is to secure strategic advantage for the UK.

Our sectors are honoured to have friends and champions from all walks of life and indeed, every side of the House.

Our message to each and every one of you is the same.

We need you.

We need you to stand up for the UK’s advanced manufacturing sectors.

We need you to ensure a stable regulatory environment, built on the long-term planning cycles that our sectors need.

We need you to support our future workforce, whose talents the UK requires to unlock our true potential

We need you to deliver for us;

In return allowing us to deliver an even greater strategic advantage that our aerospace, defence, security and space sectors have long provided to our economy.

In this important election year, our 2024 manifesto, launched today, sets out clearly the requirements of our sectors from the next government

The recommendations are designed to secure the UK’s domestic, global and future advantage, with the development of a comprehensive industrial strategy front and centre. It calls for the provision of both an attractive investment environment as well as wider trade and export strategy, one co-created with industry, and in addition the need to set out an agile regulatory environment for emerging technologies

Our sectors remain a vital pillar of our economy, providing well-paid, highly skilled jobs in every corner of the UK.

This year, also, is of course a leap year – giving us one extra day to prepare for the pioneering event of the UK’s aerospace and defence calendar – the Farnborough International Air Show returns to our skies.

And that day is especially valuable this year – with a busy calendar in the lead up to July, ranging from Security and Policing, the event we deliver on behalf of the Home Office’s Joint Security and Resilience Centre; Sustainable Skies, the celebration of our collective commitment to the sustainability agenda; Space Comm Expo, taking place for the final time at our iconic venue in 2024.

Next year, Farnborough Space Show will connect political, academic and industry stakeholders as we open our doors for our in-house show for the first time.

So, a busy year for us and equally for you.

I hope you will agree when I say this dinner is getting us off to a really good start.

ADS Manifesto 2024 compressed