HC Deb 05 March 1952 vol 497 cc396-7
3. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the expenditure he has incurred in extending airfields in England for the United States Third Air Force.

5. Mr. F. Beswick

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air who is responsible for the capital costs and the annual maintenance charges of the airfields in the United Kingdom occupied by the United States Army Air Force.

Mr. Ward

The total expenditure from Air Votes to date on developing airfields in England for the United States Air Force is estimated at £8,350,000. At present capital costs are shared, but additional maintenance costs are borne by the Government of the United States. These arrangements are, however, under review.

Mr. Hughes

When the Minister says they are under review, does he mean that the Prime Minister, in view of his statement that these airfields and these bombers are a danger to the safety of this country, is asking for them to be reduced?

Mr. Ward

No, Sir. But the whole conception is changing, and it is right that these matters should be under review from time to time.

Mr. Beswick

While agreeing with the last part of the answer given by the hon. Gentleman, that these matters should be brought under review, may I ask if he would consider the suggestion, when they are being reviewed, that the full cost of these airfields should be met by the United States authorities before we talk in terms of borrowing money from that country for re-armament purposes?

Mr. Ward

I am afraid I cannot add anything at the moment to what I have already said.

Mr. Martin Lindsay

In view of the deplorable lack of modern machines in the R.A.F. at the present time, owing to the neglect of the previous Government, are we not extraordinarily fortunate in having the United States Air Force here at the present time?

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