EU referendum: Here's where the defence, aerospace, security and space industries stand on Brexit

Lynsey Barber
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Hybrid Air Vehicles is one of the businesses backing remaining in Europe (Source: Getty)

We already know that the majority of Britain's newest businesses and the entrepreneurs who have founded startups want to remain a part of the EU, but now the more well-established tech industries are following suit.

The UK's defence, aerospace, security and space industries, which employ more than a quarter of a million people between them believe overwhelmingly that we should remain a part of Europe.

Just 10 per cent of these companies surveyed by industry group ADS said they believed Britain was better off leaving the EU, while 70 per cent want to remain.

Read more: Here's the outlook of UK tech startups right now - and how they feel about Brexit

“This survey represents the views of organisations of all sizes. The UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space sectors turnover £56bn annually, they form the backbone of the UK’s industrial economy employing thousands of people in high-skill, high-value jobs," said ADS chief executive Paul Everitt.

Who wants to remain in Europe?

Aerospace  76%

Space  74%

Defence  70 %

Security  69%

Large companies  73%

Small companies  69%

Benefits to businesses of remaining in Europe include research and development funding that means Britain is globally competitive as well as influence over EU regulation, said Everitt.

Bedfordshire-based Hybrid Air Vehicles, which builds hybrid airships and has raised more than £800,000 halfway through a crowdfunding campaign, agrees.

"Being in the EU has been and will continue to be vital for our business. Having access to significant R&D grants, such as the €2.5m Horizon 2020 grant we've received, having access to a wider talent pool of engineers that are in short supply in the UK is critical to our expansion plans and even with regards to access to equity funding - we have a crowdfunding round open now - it is enormously helpful to easily raise this from anywhere in the EU," said chief executive Stephen McGlennan.

ADS President Paul Kahn said: "The UK’s continued ability to attract investment, which the future prosperity of our industries depend on, is entirely dependent on the Britain’s ability to compete globally. I cannot envisage a scenario where the uncertainty created by the leap into the unknown that leaving the EU represents would make the UK a more competitive place for investment.”

Several surveys of the UK tech industry - from policy group Coadec, Silicon Valley Bank, and industry groups Tech UK and Tech London Advocates - have come to similar conclusions about which side of the fence it falls when it comes to Brexit.