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Gloucestershire Business News

Small businesses play big part in Britain's largest ever warship

Tomorrow we celebrate Small Business Saturday and the MoD has revealed the crucial role SMEs have played in the construction of the Royal Navy's biggest ever ships.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the nation's future flagship and the first of Britain's two new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers, will be formally commissioned into the Royal Navy by the Queen next week.

But the construction of the 280 metre-long ship (longer even than the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol) would never have been possible without the essential work undertaken by small and medium sized enterprises.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: "I would like to thank the hundreds of businesses around the country for the millions of hours they've spent equipping our ships in what has been an immense nationwide enterprise.

""Their Herculean efforts showcase our great British talent and saw HMS Queen Elizabeth complete her 2017 sea trials with flying colours as she prepares to project our interests right across the world."

In 2015/2016 the Ministry of Defence invested nearly £4.5bn in the South West, supporting 30,000 full-time jobs, and benefiting local economies.

Last year saw the MOD's direct spend with SME's increase by over 10% across the country.

The Defence Minister has launched initiatives such as a new Supplier Portal, which brings together a range of useful information for new and prospective suppliers in one place for the first time.

Next year the new F-35B Lightning II stealth jets will start flight trials from HMS Queen Elizabeth which is on track to be fully deployable anywhere in the world by 2021.

The UK's small businesses contributed a huge £1.9 trillion to the economy this year, according to new Government figures.

Small Business Saturday is now in its fifth year, shining a light on the diverse range of brilliant small firms across the country.

Small businesses are vital to local communities and now it's your opportunity to show support by shopping small this weekend. FSB research shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-size business, 63 per cent is re-spent in the local area- compared to 40p in every £1 spent with a chain or larger business.

Last year customers spent £717m with UK small businesses on Small Business Saturday, an increase of 15 per cent on 2015 spending.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: "It's great the campaign has been so successful in highlighting and promoting the now record number of 5.7m small businesses working hard across the UK.

"Many of them are facing mounting pressure, with a record proportion of business owners currently expecting to downsize, sell or shut up shop.

"Of course, it's important to support these businesses throughout the year and, particularly as the festive season draws closer, Small Business Saturday is a great way to encourage shoppers to back their local small firms."

Picture credit: Ministry of Defence.

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