The announcement, in a White Paper entitled `Defence Diversification: Getting the most out of defence technology. Proposals for a Defence Diversification Agency' confirmed that the government 'believes that part of the (defence industry) expertise can be extended to civilian use through a Defence Diversification Agency.
'Welcoming the announcement, Alan Matthews of Bury MBC, chair of the Arms Conversion Project said: '237,000 direct defence dependent jobs have been lost since 1990. These 'unmanaged' defence cuts have resulted in industrial devastation in many parts of the country. The Arms Conversion Project warn that a further 100,000 highly skilled defence jobs are under threat. The creation of a Defence Diversification Agency by the end of 1998 will enable defence companies to use the expertise which they have developed for the defence sector to enter commercial markets. Thus safeguarding UK jobs and our manufacturing base.'
The DDA will have an estimated annual budget of£2m and its activities will be overviewed by the creation of a new Defence Diversification Council including representatives of industry, local authorities and trade unions.
- For a copy of the White Paper, contact LGCnet on 0171 833 7324/5.