HC Deb 17 November 1960 vol 630 cc532-3
15. Mr. H. Wilson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the figures, on the basis used for the calculation in the Balance of Payments White Paper, of net military expenditure abroad for each of the past three years, to the latest date; and if he will state the reasons for any significant change.

Sir E. Boyle

Net military expenditure abroad amounted to £62 million in 1957, £130 million in 1958, £133 million in 1959 and £85 million in the first half of 1960.

The increase from 1957 to 1958 and 1959 was almost wholly due to a reduction in military receipts, including United States defence aid, United States offshore purchases, expenditure by the United States and Canadian forces in the United Kingdom and West German support contributions. The further increase in the first half of 1960 reflected higher gross expenditure but may have been affected by the incidence of payments within the year.

Mr. Wilson

Since the expenditure in the first half of this year is, I understand, £28 million more than it was in the first half of 1959 and is now running at the very alarming figure of £170 million, affecting both the burden on the taxpayers and the burden on our foreign exchange, would the hon. Gentleman consider whether we could not have a White Paper or some other statement, because these are very alarming figures and the House ought to have more information?

Sir E. Boyle

I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend will consider the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion, and I will, indeed, pass it on to him. I agree that this is a very important subject.

Mr. Shinwell

How far is the increased military expenditure overseas due to the failure of the West German Federal Government to meet their obligations?

Sir E. Boyle

This is not my subject and, naturally, I do not have detailed information regarding policy. I would rather not go further than I have gone this afternoon in answering the Question.