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A benefit, not a burden: The security, economic and strategic value of Britain’s defence industry

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This report explores the military, economic and security value of Britain’s defence industry. The report’s key findings are:

1. A domestic defence industry matters. The UK’s defence industry is a leading-edge, high-technology sector that provides key military benefits to the nation’s security by ensuring a secure, assured and agile supply chain which is developed and maintained over the long-term. Without a thriving domestic defence industrial base with the capacity and capabilities to provide this, the UK jeopardises its freedom to act in an unstable, fast-changing world.

2. There is a lack of data and analysis. To make valid and rational decisions in spending and defence reviews, there is an urgent need for detailed data on the impact of defence spending within the UK economy. However, there is a dearth of data and rigorous analysis concerning the scale, scope and nature of the economic return of defence expenditure in the UK defence industrial base. Without this data it is difficult – for the government or independent analysts – to conduct rigorous analysis on the implications of spending decisions on the UK economy and how best to use available resources to achieve the maximum benefit.

3. The domestic defence industry supports and creates highly skilled jobs and strengthens the economy. MoD expenditure within the UK defence industrial base and beyond provides significant economic value to the UK in terms of domestic employment levels, high-technology skills and financial contributions.

4. Defence exports deliver national security benefits as well as export revenue and the development of leading edge technology. UK defence exports help to achieve national security and defence objectives by providing the UK with influence and leverage over other states which can be deployed in pursuit of foreign and security policy goals.