HC Deb 15 February 1968 vol 758 c1570
25. Mr. Carlisle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which prison building and improvement projects will be affected by the proposed cuts in Government expenditure.

Mr. Callaghan

The start of the building of the maximum security prison on the Isle of Wight and two other prisons will be deferred; proposals for adapting two redundant Ministry of Defence camps for prison use will be abandoned; there will be some reduction in the rate of increase in the provision of houses for staff; and some small prison improvement schemes will be deferred.

Mr. Carlisle

As prisons today are more over-crowded than ever, what possible effect can this cut have except to make the situation worse still?

Mr. Callaghan

I notice that it is a constitutional disease of hon. Members opposite to be in favour of economies in general and of none in particular. If I may repeat a theme song which I have uttered so often, the effect of these cuts is to reduce the rate of increase. Translating that, for example, into terms of prison houses for staff, in the first year when we came into office there were 125 houses bought for staff. In 1968–69, that is, the coming year, as a result of the cuts the figure will be not 125 but 700 new houses.

Mr. Whitaker

As Dartmoor Prison was considered obsolete in the last century, will my right hon. Friend now announce a firm date for its abolition?

Mr. Callaghan

I cannot do that at this moment. It is too soon after 17th January.