Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £100, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of certain additional married quaters at home, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1959.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Miss Vickers
I want to ask a question which arises from page 216, Subhead A. I notice that there has been a decrease of £1 million in the provision for new married quarters. There may be a simple explanation of this, but I should like to know whether we shall be able to build the programme which we had expected to build.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
I do not want to detain the Committee because I realise that we are going over time, but the more I think of it the more I realise that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary made an extremely important statement of policy earlier today in connection with Vote 1 when he suggested that the married quarters now at Chatham would continue to be used by the Navy 660 notwithstanding the fact that there may come a time when no naval personnel are there.
Hitherto, married quarters have always been intended to provide furnished accommodation for officers and men in the vicinity of their place of work. I am not asking for an answer to the question now because I realise that it affects all three Services and raises a big issue of policy, but if there is to be a change of policy I think the Committee should have an opportunity to debate it. I see that the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) is here. I very much prefer a modification on the line which he suggested the other day when winding up a debate on the Army Estimates in the early hours of the morning. I make the point because I do not think this change should pass without attention being drawn to it.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith
The main reason that the amount of money is less is that some of the programme had to be delayed in the Chatham area because we were not certain whether the establishments at Chatham would continue. We shall be able to use the loan, because I think there is an intention to have a new loan and that one will run into the other. No money will be wasted.
I will certainly note the point made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett) and draw my right hon. Friend's attention to it. We realise that this is a great change, if it takes place. At the moment it is merely a possibility in the mind of the Admiralty and nothing has been decided.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That a sum, not exceeding £100, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of certain additional married quarters at home, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1959.