Hard Brexit: How it will impact defence and security

23 October 2018

Brexit is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. As you may not be directly related, it will however filter through our day to day one way or another. As the UK voted to leave the EU on 23rd of June in 2016, we are left to negotiate our trade, sovereignty and immigration. In April - March 2017 MoD spent £35.3bn on defence. This is forecasted to increase by £1bn in 2020. (BBC Statistics)

The implications of Brexit are passed on to the defence and security sector through:

  • Defence spending: The defence secretary Gavin Williamson is at the forefront of defence spending and is a crucial link for moving UK's defence forward. With the UK manufacturers of equipment within the UK not to be affected too much as they only provide Europe with a small portion of their defence equipment.
  • Research & Development: This can be a costly element of our defence program as it takes years of research and development to provide the military with equipment that will outperform the last. From leaving the EU, the UK risks losing access to R&D funds. Since 2007, the UK had won a 5th of all EU research funds which had amounted to £8bn altogether. (Rand Corporation)
  • Northern Ireland & border security: With a lot of grey area surrounding the border between The Republic of Ireland & North Ireland, the people of Ireland are wanting clarification in regards to a soft or hard border. As North Ireland benefit from a soft border with access to EU subsidies with funds for the peace process.
  • Jobs within defence: With many workers within the UK providing much-needed skills to our defence equipment manufacturers are from the EU. As The Year of Engineering, it is a huge gap to fill if the skilled workers can no longer in the UK.

“Hard-Brexit” will ultimately impact our defence and security industries and spending. With the changes yet to be implicated into the program it is important for the Governments to resolve the issues for local and European businesses so that they are able to adapt to the changes or restrictions.

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