HC Deb 14 December 1949 vol 470 cc2655-6
45. Commander Noble

asked the Minister of Defence whether he can now say how the saving of £12,500,000 on Defence expenditure in this financial year will be made.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

The contribution of the Service Departments to the £12.5 million will be about £2 million for the Admiralty, £5.5 million for the War Office and £5 million for the Air Ministry.

Mr. Chamberlain

Can my right hon. Friend say that there will in fact be any saving at all when all the Supplementary Estimates are taken into consideration?

Mr. Alexander

That remains to be seen when we see the Supplementary Estimates.

Commander Noble

Will the Minister be able to give the House details of those figures for each of the Services?

Mr. Alexander

I think that at a later stage that may be possible. I can say now that they will be mainly in respect of a reduction in respect of the somewhat lower uniformed strength; some reduction in the provisions for civilians; and in the provision for works and stores.

Earl Winterton

Even though this information may be confidential and cannot be given to the House, has it at least been communicated to the Services, because at a time when they are engaged in weapon improvement and increasing barrack accommodation, it is very important that they should know the details?

Mr. Alexander

Certainly, Sir.

Mr. Scollan

Can the Minister give the House an assurance in regard to this £5 million for the Army and the Air Force, that it will not be a case of cutting out something that is afterwards found to be required, and then bringing in a Supplementary Estimate to get it?

Mr. Alexander

These are genuine savings on a programme which otherwise would have to be paid for.