HC Deb 18 May 1995 vol 260 c297W
Mr. Merchant

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the roles of his Department of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Defence in regard to the United Kingdom's defence industry. [25667]

Mr. Eggar

The two Departments are in regular contact about the United Kingdom's defence industry.

The Ministry of Defence, as the biggest single customer of UK industry, aims to achieve maximum value for money in procurement, primarily through competition but also, where appropriate, through international collaboration or non-competitive acquisition. It has an interest in ensuring that its supplier base, which includes both specialist defence companies and general companies in most sectors of industry, is efficient, competitive and capable of meeting its needs in both the short and the long term. It works closely with companies to ensure that its requirements are properly understood and to improve the efficiency of the procurement process.

It supports the efforts of UK companies to export defence goods and services.

It funds research and development of technologies needed to meet defence needs. Through the Defence Research Agency it encourages the exploitation of technologies developed for military purposes in civil applications and the exploitation for defence purposes of civil technologies.

The Department of Trade and Industry's objective is to help UK industry compete successfully at home and in world markets. It works closely with the defence industry and related companies, trade associations, universities and other agencies to help improve the industry's international competitiveness. It pursues trade liberalisation world-wide and helps UK industry to take full advantage of market opportunities.

DTI works closely with the Ministry of Defence on issues affecting the competitiveness of the defence industries: It advises on the industrial implications of MoD procurement policy to ensure that consequences for the competitiveness of the UK defence industrial base are taken into account. On substantial individual defence procurement projects, DTI is consulted well before decisions are taken, to ensure that the industrial implications are considered fully. Together with MoD it works to promote joint military and civil research activities and adaptation of military technology to civil applications. It works with MoD to develop a common information base on the defence industries.