Industry will welcome the Government’s commitment to a deep partnership with the EU on defence and security – and recognition of the importance of these sectors to the UK economy, ADS said today.

Responding to the Future Partnership Paper on Foreign Policy, Defence and Development, the UK trade association for the defence, security and space sectors said the paper set out a positive approach.

Key points from the Government paper published today include: 

  • It would like to offer a future relationship with the EU that is deeper than any current “third country” partnership – unprecedented in its breadth, and taking in cooperation on foreign policy, defence, security and development.
  • The UK will continue to champion and drive forward greater cooperation between the EU and NATO.
  • The possibility remains open that the UK could collaborate in future European Defence Agency projects and initiatives.
  • Open markets and customs arrangements that are as frictionless as possible are important to the continued success of the UK’s defence and security sectors.
  • We will continue to play an active role in the European Space Agency after leaving the EU – and all options should be considered to ensure future cooperation on space maintains our security and supports mutual prosperity.
  • The UK is a world leader in cyber security and seeks to maintain the broadest possible cooperation to address shared cyber security threats.

ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:

“The UK and the EU share deep common interests in defence and security, and it is vital that we continue to work closely with our European partners after Brexit.

“Our defence and security sectors are the biggest in Europe and make a substantial contribution both to our safety and our economic prosperity.

“These sectors achieved more than £10bn in exports last year and like all the UK’s major industries need to continue enjoying access to the customers, suppliers and R&D programmes that support their global competitiveness.

“The Government’s recognition of the importance of defence, security and space sector exports is welcome – though our sectors and others will welcome early clarity on the details of transitional arrangements to take effect in March 2019.

“While there remains relatively little time to agree a final deal between the UK and the EU, today’s paper sets out a positive approach.”

Last week ADS published the latest facts and figures for the defence and security sectors in the UK in its annual outlook reports. These can be found here.

The defence industry is worth an annual £23bn to the UK economy, with nearly £6bn worth of exports, while the security sector is worth an additional £12bn, with more than £4bn of exports.