HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 cc441-2
8. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress made towards reduction of arms expenditure.

Mr. Healey

Defence Estimates this year are below those of 1964–65 at constant prices and I hope that my hon. Friend will consider this evidence of progress.

Mr. Allaun

Unfortunately not. Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of us on this side feel that, despite the financial crisis, the cuts are trifling? As the £2,000 million a year programme is to stand, are not the Government really only advancing a £100 million a year cut by one year?

Mr. Healey

I think that my hon. Friend is mixing up savings on foreign exchange and savings in resources. I do not think that anyone could rightly regard savings of £400 million in resources as trifling. Nor is a saving of up to £100 million out of a total expenditure in foreign exchange of £300 million trifling. It is a cut of one-third.

Mr. Blaker

When will the Government announce details of the £100 million cut which the Prime Minister mentioned two weeks ago? Both the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury have told us that firm decisions have been taken. When will we be told about them?

Mr. Healey

When the necessary consultations have been carried out with our allies and others concerned.