HC Deb 25 May 1960 vol 624 cc421-2
11. Mr. Lawson

asked the Secretary of State for Air what proportion of the expenditure headed Works and Lands in the Air Estimates is spent in Scotland.

Mr. W. J. Taylor

Excluding expenditure on behalf of the United States Air Force and other Government Departments, the proportion last year was about 4 per cent.

Mr. Lawson

Does not the hon. Gentleman think that this is a scandalously low proportion of expenditure? Is it the case that members of the Royal Air Force like to live near London and the south of England, and in consequence airfields and everything else are based only in the South? Is no consideration given to this very exposed part of Great Britain which occupies perhaps more than one-third of the total land area of this country?

Mr. Taylor

No, Sir. The expenditure on an Armed Service cannnot be based on geographical considerations of that kind. Nearly half the money goes on maintenance which is governed by present deployment. Most of the capital expenditure is done at the existing stations, since it is usually much cheaper to expand or improve a station than to build a new one.

12. Mr. Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Air what proportion of the supplies as shown in Vote 6 of the Air Estimates is purchased in Scotland.

Mr. W. J. Taylor

I regret that this information is not available. Our liquid and solid fuel is bought under central bulk contracts, and we cannot tell what proportion originates in Scotland. Most of our food supplies come through N.A.A.F.I. and the other two Services supply organisations.

Mr. Hannan

First, is it not rather disturbing that these figures are not available? Secondly is not the hon. Gentleman aware that Grangemouth might be approached in the matter of supplying oil? Will he use his undoubted influence to channel some of these purchases to Scotland, and will the hon. Gentleman attempt to answer the supplementary question without referring so fully to the supplementary answers which have been prepared for him?

Mr. Taylor

I said that the information was not available in the form for which the hon. Gentleman asked. I am advised that our main aviation fuel contractor has a refinery in Scotland, but it is quite impossible to say how much of our fuel comes from that particular refinery. I am sympathetic to what the hon. Gentleman has in mind, but I fear that the scope for what he suggests is limited. Our liquid and solid fuels are bought under very large central bulk contracts, and most of our food supplies; as I have said, come through N.A.A.F.I. and other organisations.