Defence Minister Promises Increased SME Spending

Secretary for Defence, Michael Fallon, has said opening up the Ministry of Defence supply chain to access SME innovation is vital to meet its technology needs.

Fallon praised SMEs, saying they were the "secret to success" and said the Ministry of Defence will increase its spending with smaller companies. He said the MOD spent 20% of its budget on SMEs last year and said that figure will only increase. He believes that harnessing emerging technologies and innovation from SMEs is key to meeting defence needs.

He said: "The real secret to success and innovation lies in opening up our supply chains to the talent of the SMEs.

"Last year we spent 20% of our defence budget directly or indirectly with SMEs. The latest figure found MOD did business with 5,400 SMEs, worth over £800m. In this parliament, I want us to do more than that."

Fallon also expressed his support for the joint MOD and TechUK innovation challenge launched in July this year.

He said every quarter the MOD will set out a challenge in a particular area of "digital innovation" and ask industry to come up with systems.

He said the MOD will review its Defence, Science and Laboratory priorities to ensure "this is what meets emerging defence and security requirements."

He added: "We want to sustain the DSTL's ability to encourage innovation throughout the delivery of science and technology."

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