Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £30,460,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of works, buildings and lands, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1956.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
I will again be very brief and put one or two questions. The policy that has been announced is that, following the disappearance of the Suez base, there is to be a redeployment of our forces and a building up of the strategic Reserve in this country. I take it that that means that a greater proportion of the Army will be at home and a lesser proportion abroad.
Are the Government satisfied that the figures provided in the Vote are adequate to meet the increased demand for barrack accommodation and married quarters at home which follows from that policy? According to page 146 of the Army Estimates, the amount to be voted for married quarters at home under this Vote is only slightly greater than the amount which was to be voted last year whereas, according to page 148, the amount to be voted for married quarters abroad this year is decidedly greater than the amount to be voted for married quarters abroad last year.
One would have thought that, in view of the policy adopted, the increase would be greater for married quarters at home than for those abroad, but judging from the figures the opposite appears to be the case. Will the Secretary of State or the Under-Secretary of State give an explanation on that point?
I should like also to have an assurance that sufficient provision has been made for barrack accommodation to make certain that if the Government carry through the redeployment which is envisaged, and build up the strategic Reserve in this country, the men will be living under reasonable barrack conditions.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;
§ House counted, and 40 Members being present—
§ Mr. Head
As I was saying, very considerable progress was made during the six years after the introduction of the married-quarter loan.
1236 So far as home is concerned, the problem which in particular we are attacking is the maintenance, repair and improvement of existing married quarters, a programme which has recently been introduced. The hon. Member for Fulham, East (Mr. M. Stewart) asked whether we were satisfied about barracks. Frankly, the answer is, "No." Although what we plan at the moment is a very steep increase for this year, no one pretends that it will not be a long time before any Government or Secretary of State is satisfied in that respect. As I said in my speech on the Estimates, the problem has been one of planning and getting the labour and materials. No one could pretend that barracks in this country are in a state in which one would wish them to be for the reception of troops coming back consequent upon redeployment.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That a sum not exceeding £30,460,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of works, buildings and lands, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1956.