§ 1. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Minister of Defence what percentage of the working population is now either in the Services or supporting them; and how this compares with three years ago.
§ The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Watkinson)
The percentage of the working population now in the Services or supporting them is estimated at 4. 7 per cent. This compares with 60 per cent. three years ago.
§ Mr. Digby
Is it not a fact that in the 1957 White Paper on Defence the figure was no less than 7 per cent.? Does not this show that the Defence Services have made a big contribution to the economic difficulties of the country? Will my right hon. Friend make representations accordingly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer?
§ Mr. Watkinson
I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for what he has said. It is perfectly true that the Services have carried out a very painful operation in trying to reduce their dependence on the manpower of our working population.