News from local MP Jack Lopresti

Paying tribute to our defence teams

This month, I have been able to revisit some of the fantastic aerospace and world-leading defence companies we have in our area.

I visited Aeralis to catch up on progress with their modular jet which could replace the Hawk, Red Arrows jet, as the trainer aircraft for the RAF among other potential uses. Their planned jet is a radical new concept and a world leading modular design with the potential to be a major British export which could be used in militaries around the world. This will create jobs and deliver on-demand operational air support services as part of the future of our Air Force.

I also visited GKN Global Technology Centre in Filton and this time met with their Vice President, Sameer Savani, where we discussed technological innovation and sustainable development. We also discussed STEM engagement with local schools and colleges and their apprenticeships programme. The GTC is also working with several partners across the region, helping to sustain our area as an international centre of excellence in aerospace and technology.

In Westminster, I asked the Prime Minister to join me in paying tribute to everyone who works at MOD Defence Equipment and Support, Abbeywood, for all that they do, especially in helping the Ukrainians get the kit they need to fight for their freedom. The Prime Minister joined me in paying tribute to MOD DE&S and confirmed £24 billion in additional defence spending as well as his commitment to more equipment being manufactured in the UK.

In Parliament, I continue to champion and advocate apprenticeships. The opportunities they bring and the contribution they can make to enhancing social mobility will ensure we maintain the knowledge, skills and expertise, not only for good quality jobs in our area, but will protect and enhance our sovereign defence manufacturing capability.

I met apprentices from EDF Energy, Assystem and Vulcain Engineering during Nuclear Week in Parliament and discussed the vital contributions they are making to preserve our energy security. I was delighted to host a seminar in Westminster with Enterprise UK, where we discussed Enterprise’s plans to provide apprenticeships and training to our Armed Forces’ veterans. I also hosted Airbus Helicopters where I was able to meet with some of their apprentices.

I was re-elected as the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sovereign Defence Manufacturing Capability. The first inquiry will be on the impact of the war in Ukraine on the UK’s defence manufacturing resilience. The conflict in Ukraine will clearly have an impact on our local defence manufacturing.

Earlier this month I met with Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury to discuss the company’s ongoing and increasing investment into Filton, and also attended the ADS Annual Dinner, which brings together the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors. I was hosted by Lockheed Martin and spent the evening explaining to them the great merits and advantages of investing in defence manufacturing jobs in our area.