Unite representatives from BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls Royce headed to parliament today (May 13) urging MPs to ensure the continued funding for Tempest, the UK’s replacement of the Typhoon fighter jet.
Plans to develop the next generation of fighter aircraft and £2bn of funding were signed off in July last year leading to the creation of 400 jobs, with a further 350 working on the project by the end of 2019.
Unite is pressing Penny Mordaunt, the new defence secretary, to continue funding for Tempest by ensuring the 10-year defence equipment plan is fully funded in the comprehensive spending review.
“By 2020 nearly 25 pence in every pound of UK defence spending will be with US companies. It is vital not just for the UK’s sovereign defence capability, but for jobs and skills throughout the manufacturing supply chain that the design and build of projects like Tempest is done here in the UK,” said Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy.
“Unite will continue to press the government to ensure its commitment to the long term funding of Tempest is not watered down under the new defence secretary.
“We will also be calling on MPs to back UK defence jobs by urging the government to pursue procurement policies which favour UK prosperity through onshore design and build rather than buying off the shelf from abroad on short-term economic grounds.”