Richard Holden asks the Defence Minister about North East jobs in the defence manufacturing sector.
The defence sector employs many people in North West Durham and across the North East as a whole.
In the House of Commons Chamber, Richard asked the Defence Minister, Jeremy Quin MP, about the next-generation Challenger 3 Turrets (built for the Main Battle Tanks) which are being assembled in the North East - providing opportunities to Level Up our communities with skilled and meaningful employment.
Richard also asked about the Defence Science and Technology (DSTL) Hub in Newcastle, which is at the centre of the £6.6bn investment HMG is making into Defence R&D over the next 4 years. Minister Quin formally opened the hub yesterday to focus in particular on Artificial Intelligence. The number of direct employees is small (15-20) but the wider impact over time will be significant - DSTL is a powerful international brand forming a strong cluster with the Newcastle universities and the National Centre for Data Innovation.
Finally, he highlighted the great work of Cook Defence Systems in Stanhope who make tank tracks for the UK and our allies abroad and which the minister visited last year at Richard's invitation
The Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quinn responded by saying; "I had a great day last Thursday [visiting] the new defence science and technology hub and cutting the steel on the new main battle tank turret...there is a great history of Defence Manufacturing in the North East and it's going to have an even greater future."