The UK is the second largest defence exporter in the world with 9,000 small businesses operating in the defence sector.
However, 90 per cent of the country’s defence exports are won by the 20 largest companies in the sector.
The FSB has called for an overhaul of the way the MoD engages with small companies in its report The global defence and security industry: why small businesses matter, published in response to the MOD’s paper Equipment, Support and Technology for UK Defence and Security.
John Walker, national chairman of the FSB, argues that there is ‘a justified feeling among small firms that the MoD either does not recognise or understand the small business community – despite rhetoric to the contrary’.
‘It is obvious that small businesses are still placed at a significant disadvantage compared to their prime competitors,’ he adds.
The FSB believes small businesses are an ‘afterthought’, and that the government’s decisions are made with larger companies in mind.
It asks that the government facilitates business admission to the defence export market and suggests opening up a channel of communication dedicated to the sector.