HC Deb 05 April 1965 vol 710 cc12-3
12. Mr. Chichester-Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what estimated percentage of the defence budget will be spent in Northern Ireland; and how this compares with the last three years.

Mr. Healey

It is estimated that, in 1965–66, about 1½ per cent, of the defence budget will be spent in Northern Ireland, compared with 1¼ per cent, in 1964–65; 1¾ per cent, in 1963–64 and 1¼ per cent. in 1962–63.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is one field in which the Government can do something direct to help the economic situation there? Will he as far as possible resist any temptation to remove defence locations from Northern Ireland, and bear in mind that any apparent retreat by the Services may have a damaging effect on recruitment?

Mr. Healey

Yes, Sir; we will certainly bear it in mind. I think that the hon. Gentleman will agree that there must be some occasions when it is not possible, if we are to meet the very specialised requirements of the Services, to place contracts in areas of high unemployment.