Scottish Space Sector In Parliament’s Crosshairs23rd Jun 2023
The Scottish space sector is growing rapidly. However, the UK government is questioning how long this success will last if a number of challenges and opportunities are not addressed. Therefore, Members of Parliament (MPs) have launched an inquiry into the Scottish space sector to identify areas of growth, and how to maintain ongoing success – which will be overseen by a UK Parliamentary Committee.
MPs are asking for evidence submissions from experts in the space industry with a deadline of 13th September. In a press release, Scottish Affairs Committee Chair, Pete Wishart MP, said: “We’d encourage all those with expertise in this important area to submit evidence to our inquiry and look forward to taking oral evidence on this fascinating area soon.”
Why Are MPs Launching The Inquiry?
There are three main reasons behind the inquiry: opportunities for growth and future challenges, how Scotland’s space sector compares to its international counterparts, and the contributions that the space sector offers the Scottish – and UK – economy.
Government figures show that the Scottish space industry supports over 8,500 jobs – which makes up 18% of all UK space roles – and hosts over 180 space companies. Hence the desire to maintain growth. When talking about the reasoning behind the inquiry, Mr Wishart said: “Today we launch a new inquiry into Scotland’s space sector, the role it plays in our economy, and how the developments made here in Scotland compare internationally.”
None-Stop Growth For The Scottish Space Industry
The industry is expected to continue its rapid rise in growth. Figures show that between 2018 and 2021, industry income rose by 30%. Mr Wishart discussed the need to support the development of Scotland’s space sector by saying: “This is already a brilliantly successful sector for Scotland… We’d like to hear about the main opportunities and challenges ahead, and whether the UK and Scottish Governments have the right priorities and policies to maximise the true potential of the groundbreaking work being completed here.”
Desires for International Success
Part of the reasoning behind the inquiry centres around comparing the Scottish space sector to those abroad. MPs want to identify what sets Scotland apart, or conversely, where the sector could improve. The Committee has expressed interest in: “exploring opportunities for international collaboration,” in order to bring more space companies to UK shores.
Supporting The Development Of Scottish Spaceports
The inquiry will also explore whether the UK and Scottish governments have appropriate space strategies in place to foster the development of future UK spaceports. The Scottish spaceport SaxaVord is currently in the process of applying for their launch licence, so the inquiry will ascertain the clear: “role that the governments both play in supporting the establishment of Scottish spaceports and helping them to succeed.”