1 July 2016 – The space and satellite industry has been working successfully since the publication of the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy in 2010 to take advantage of government support and assistance, and to grow and create jobs in the UK economy. The sector has benefitted from strong cross party support and has concentrated on developing a strong globally focussed industry, with high skilled tech jobs and a track record of export growth and high productivity. As a result, the sector has continued to grow substantially throughout the post-2007 economic downturn and its aftermath.
Following the decision of the British people in the EU Referendum, the space sector is confident that it remains an exciting sector for investment leading to continued long-term growth and an increasingly important contribution to the UK economy. We believe the UK space and satellite sector is a vibrant industry serving an increasingly inter-connected world that merits continuing support from the UK government as a long-term industrial success story.
In order to maintain its growth trajectory, industry strongly believes that continued investment, much of it co-funded with the private sector, is necessary to create a level playing field in terms of its competitiveness with other nations.
We believe it is critical to retain membership of the European single market to allow access to EU-funded operational programmes such as Galileo and Copernicus. In addition UK benefits from research and innovation support from H2020. We request the UK government seeks bilateral agreements on these programmes as they support UK industrial growth and job creation in the global markets of satellite navigation, earth observation and related research.
If investments in research, technology and application development cannot be obtained bilaterally with the EU, then it is vital that nationally targeted financial investment from the reallocation of funding previously spent on the UK’s EU membership should be made available.
It the short-term, it is essential that action is taken to keep skills and jobs in the UK during the critical phase while the government negotiates our exit from the EU. We therefore request that government:
- Clarifies the status of the UK relationship with EU space programmes and ensures that this is communicated to European stakeholders (EU and Industry) to ensure bidding activity can continue without loss of momentum and competitive positioning. This includes procurements managed by non EU bodies such as ESA and EUMETSAT on Galileo and Copernicus.
- Makes an increased subscription to the 2016 ESA C-Min to protect sunk UK investment in programmes and prevent other European companies capturing work and drawing jobs away from UK.
- Makes available funding for a national space technology plan that will allow UK companies to retain and grow cutting-edge global industrial capabilities and re-enforces the UK as a country of choice to locate space-related manufacturing and service businesses.