Defence secretary backs Warton skills

The Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond visited the BAE Systems site at Warton . The Secretary of State is shown the cockpit of a Eurofighter Typhoon .
The Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond visited the BAE Systems site at Warton . The Secretary of State is shown the cockpit of a Eurofighter Typhoon .
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The North West defence aerospace is “critical” to the future of Britain according to the defence secretary Philip Hammond.

Speaking during a flying visit to BAE Systems’ Warton site from the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, he said the high technology, skills and expertise within the industry was key to the nation as it looked to come out of the recession.

He said the Government was backing BAE’s export efforts at the highest levels and exports were crucial for not only the revenues they bring in for the country but also for building relationships with other nations.

The Defence Secretary was also backing BAE’s support for the forces’ reserve programme which the Government is seeking to expand as it cuts back on regular forces numbers. He denied that this was a case of getting defence of the nation on the cheap but said the Army had to change to reflect the changing global situation.

He said: “We are reducing the size of the regular army to 82,000 and increasing the size of the reserve from 19,000 to 30,000. That is part of our plan to restructure the forces to be fit for purpose.”

He said the Government was working hard to help secure export orders for Typhoon.

He said: “We are not just selling aeroplanes but building relationships with countries who want to have a close strategic partnership with the UK.

“It is critically important to the UK that we build on these skills. The defence industry is at the cutting edge of the UK.”

“Cutting edge technology and skills are very important for Britain’s long term future and rebuilding of the economy taking it away from a financial services base to what we do brilliantly well, which is high tech and engineering.”