HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc431-2
14. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Minister of Defence how much defence costs per person per week.

Mr. Thorneycroft

In the 1963–64 Estimates defence will cost 13s. 5d. per person per week.

Mr. Hughes

As an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, has the right hon. Gentleman no sympathy with the present Chancellor? Since he has presented a bill for £300 million more than was presented to him when he was Chancellor, does he not think that he should appear today not in a tile hat but in a white sheet?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I think that a country which spends on average 18s. 1d. per person per week on drink and tobacco might spend 13s. 5d. for its defences.

Mr. Healey

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he still holds to the view expressed when he resigned from his Treasury post some years ago that we would never get an effective return for our tremendous defence expenditure so long as we tried to maintain both a full-scale nuclear capacity and adequate conventional forces?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I hesitate to ask the hon. Gentleman to read my resignation speech as a whole, but he will see, if he does, that in it I referred to what we spend upon ourselves in softer living as well as on our defences.

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