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Findings of inquiry to address defence spending disparities for NI published

24 May 2024

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has published the findings of its Defence Spending in Northern Ireland inquiry after the General Election was called.

Just £190 per head is spent by the Ministry of Defence with Northern Ireland’s industry, compared with £5,930 in the South West of England.

In a letter to Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Committee Chair Sir Robert Buckland outlined key themes raised by witnesses that the Committee “felt were still important to draw” the Government’s attention to. Among them was the lack of engagement with and knowledge of Northern Ireland that, many suggested, could be fixed by establishing a regional hub of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

With 95% of Northern Ireland’s defence sector comprising small or medium enterprises, but the MoD mainly booking orders with defence giants – or primes - witnesses called out the need for “greater attention to the way primes engage with SMEs in Northern Ireland”. The introduction of a hub, they said, would improve understand of mutual opportunities for smaller companies and the MoD.

Stakeholders were also in agreement that the use of the apprenticeship levy needs reform in Northern Ireland.

Further information

Image: House of Commons