HC Deb 17 July 1968 vol 768 cc1400-1
6. Mr. Ramsden

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is now the strength planned for each of the three Services in 1973.

Mr. Reynolds

I should not want to be precise at this stage for a breakdown between the three Services because this will depend on detailed decisions to be taken during the next few years. But our planning figures, and I would expect these to change in detail, are in round figures for the Royal Navy about 79,000, for the Army about 166,000 and for the R.A.F. about 96,000.

Mr. Ramsden

On the Army total, how many brigade groups available for deployment does this embrace? More generally, does not the introduction of the latest Government White Paper make it clear that these target strengths are derived from the need to cut manpower for financial reasons and are not related to any true defence needs?

Mr. Reynolds

I am not prepared at this stage to give any further breakdown, but, as the White Papers and my right hon. Friend and others on this side have constantly explained, we are tailoring our future forces to the commitments and it is the commitments being reduced which allow us to reduce the number of men.

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