Government stake in satellite company welcome but it has to mean UK manufacturing jobs

With rumours that the UK government is set to take a 20 per cent ‘equity investment’ stake in the OneWeb satellite business, leading manufacturing union Unite is calling on the government to confirm that the investment will deliver UK jobs.

Unite says that a taxpayer stake in OneWeb is right in principle and a welcome move given that the UK urgently needs to build satellite infrastructure now that the country is no longer part of the EU-wide Galileo programme.

But the union warned that this cannot be the last word in government action for the beleaguered UK aerospace industry, which is losing jobs on a daily basis as the Covid-19 crisis hits the sector hard.

Unite national officer for the aerospace sector, Rhys McCarthy, said: “We hope the reports that the UK government is set to take a stake in OneWeb are a positive development because having a significant level of direct ownership of our public assets is absolutely the correct principle to adopt.

“We would like to see more detail on what this equity stake will deliver for the UK. The country urgently needs world-leading satellite infrastructure to support modern businesses and our defence systems. We want to be reassured that a government stake in OneWeb is the right way forward on this and will mean security and jobs for UK aerospace workers.

“In leaving the EU programme, we have an opportunity now to take control and deploy our world-leading skills and technology in the UK to develop, manufacture and launch the UK’s own satellite communication system. 

“But this cannot be the last word in government action for the sector, which is losing jobs on a daily basis, and will continue to lose jobs unless the UK follows governments like France and Germany and brings forward the package of sector support so urgently needed.”

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