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01 Feb 12. The Defence science and technology budget will be protected to ensure the UK continues to develop cutting-edge new techniques and equipment to give our troops the edge in battle.

The MoD announced today the intention to sustain science and technology spending at 1.2 per cent of its total annual budget in a Government White Paper, National Security Through Technology.

This new policy paper sets out how the Government will provide the best equipment for our Armed Forces and security services and achieve best value for money for UK tax payers. It provides clear principles that will underpin the relationship with industry as the MOD invests more than £150BN in military equipment over the next decade.

The White Paper follows a commitment in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to outline the Government’s future approach to working with the Defence and security industries. It has been developed jointly by MOD and Home Office, following extensive consultation, and includes plans to:

* Protect the essential Science and Technology (S&T) budget – To ensure our Armed Forces continue to have state of the art techniques and equipment, the MOD is prioritising investment in Science and Technology. The White Paper states the Government’s intention to halt years of decline in spending on Defence S&T by maintaining spend at least at the current 1.2 per cent of MOD’s budget, spending over £400m each year.

* Support for exports – The Defence sector is vital to the success of the UK economy. The MOD will help all UK-based suppliers obtain export orders and promote products abroad while protecting our own security and our core values of human rights and democracy. Ministers will be closely involved in supporting Defence and security exports; exportability will be built into new acquisition requirements; co-ordination across Government will be improved, and new arrangements developed to provide the training that overseas customers often seek.

* Encourage Small and Medium Enterprises – SMEs are currently awarded 42 per cent of MOD’s equipment contracts – worth almost £1bn per year – and many more contribute to Defence and Security programmes as subcontractors. The new measures in the White Paper will make it easier for smaller contractors to compete for Government tenders, help them to develop new products and provide expert advice to help them export.

Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said,

“Our Armed Forces must continue to have innovative, high-technology equipment to give them a battle-winning edge, so we will support the development of defence technology directly and protect the amount we spend. We had to take tough decisions to tackle the £38bn blackhole this Government inherited, but we are now close to achieving a sustainable and balanced budget for the first time in decades. This will mean we can start ordering new equipment for the Armed Forces with confidence and will help provide the clarity industry needs to invest in the right areas.

“We plan to spend over £150 billion on defence equipment over the next ten years. We will strongly support responsible exports, increasing the market opportunities for all defence and security companies and encouraging them to invest in the UK. If we can save money and get the capability now rather than later, our budgets will go further and the country will be better defended.

“Britain’s smaller businesses are the breeding ground of genuine innovation, developing new technologies that provide our frontline forces with battle-winning advantage. Last year the MOD spent almost £1bn directly with smaller businesses and we want to see that figure grow. We will strengthen the ability of smaller firms to compete for defence and security contracts, making sure their innovation is fully tapped.”

Crime and Security Minister James Brokenshire said, “

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