Ian Godden, Chairman of the ADS Group promoting UK defense and aerospace industries, expressed his concern about further job losses that would follow the cuts recently announced due to both historical and recent cutbacks in defense spending. Godden warned that further layoffs of 20,000 – 30,000 skilled employees are at risk across the defense industry, jeopardizing the ability of the British industry to recoup and sustain its rank of the world’s second largest defense producer and exporter of £9.5 billion in 2010.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the historic and current cuts to defense spending, which have been halved over 20 years from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, are beginning to take affect.” said Godden, “These cuts and their results are a matter of national interest and must be addressed before further impact is felt on our Armed Forces on the front line or the industrial base suffers further.” Despite the cuts made in past years, U.K. industries managed to expand in the global market, with the U.K maintaining its leading position as the largest defense manufacturer in Europe and second only to the U.S. in defense exports, with a 22 per cent market share. However, the recent cuts mandated by the Strategic Defense & Security Review (SDSR) are driving the larger industries to slow down and reduce costs, resulting in massive layoff. they also reduce subcontracting work outside the company, resulting in severe, if not lethal blows to many small and medium companies that provided the supply chain and expert skills for specific capabilities. Some of these specialists are lost for good. The loss of these skills, gained through years of hard work and investment, means that the U.K. will not be able to recover certain fields of activity once the economy improves. “Rebalancing the economy towards high technology and advanced manufacturing with strong exports and support for SMES is a Government priority” Godden warned, “We are heading in the wrong direction on Defense – an industry which is 10 per cent of the UK’s manufacturing and engineering base, and is a world leading export-led industry with 3,000 SMEs – more than France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Norway together.”
“The 10 per cent cut in Government spending on Defense is already affecting an industry that supports 300,000 jobs – these cuts are estimated to lead to further losses of between 20 and 30,000 highly skilled UK jobs. These jobs are not focused in just one area, but are spread across the whole of the UK, frequently in areas where deprivation is already above the national average.” said Godden.
“It is possible that these jobs will be picked up in other growth sectors, such as aerospace that is sector which has demonstrated growth during the recession. In terms of exports aerospace is the most successful of UK’s manufacturing sectors, and presents the opportunity to create wealth and long term opportunities for an engineering workforce. This should not detract from the need to reinvest in defense that contributes considerably to the economy and equips our Armed Forces.”
ADS Group Limited (A|D|S) is the trade organisation advancing UK AeroSpace, Defense and Security industries, with Farnborough International Limited as a wholly-owned subsidiary. A|D|S also encompasses the British Aviation Group (BAG). It has been formed through the merger of the Association of Police and Public Security Suppliers (APPSS), the Defence Manufacturers Association (DMA) and the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC).