HC Deb 02 May 1967 vol 746 cc293-4
16. Sir G. Sinclair

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to initiate consultations with the Government of Singapore about the effects on their economy of the proposed reduction of British forces in the base by about 5,000 to 10,000 men.

Mr. Bowden

The proposed reduction to which the hon. Member refers is one relating to British forces in the Far East as a whole. So far as Singapore is concerned, my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary initiated these consultations on his recent visit there.

Sir G. Sinclair

Would the right hon. Gentleman enlarge on that? Exactly how do we propose to make good in economic aid the shortfall in employment which will follow a reduction of the base in Singapore?

Mr. Bowden

This was one of the reasons for my right hon. Friend's visit, to discuss with the Singapore Government the aid and means by which we would prevent the difficulties which might arise as a result of British withdrawal. These discussions are still going on.