HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc426-7
7. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Defence whether he will consider recasting the planned services run-down in Malta.

Mr. Thorneycroft

In working out the plans for the run-down in Malta as in other places we have to consider primarily the needs of the Services. Within the framework dictated by Service requirements we have naturally done all we can to create the least possible hardship locally.

Mr. Wall

As my right hon. Friend knows, the Governor recently made a speech saying that, in spite of increased industrialisation, by 1967 one-quarter of the population might be out of work and one-fifth of the national revenue fallen away. Will not my right hon. Friend consider phasing the run-down over ten years instead of five?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The Services have much to be grateful for to Malta, and if there should be changes in our deployment which would have the effect of assisting the Maltese economy I should welcome them.

Mr. Awbery

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the serious position which will arise as a result of the run-down of the three Services in Malta? Will he consult the other Ministers with a view to finding alternative employment for the men who will become redundant as the run-down of the Services takes place?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am in close consultation with my right hon. Friend, though I think that the latter question is not for me.