HC Deb 29 October 1970 vol 805 cc392-3
8. Mr. Moyle

asked the Minister of State for Defence what proposals he has regarding the size of the British commitment to the defence of Western Europe.

The Minister of State for Defence (Lord Balniel)

Support of N.A.T.O. remains our first defence priority. We intend, therefore, not only to maintain the general level of our commitments to N.A.T.O. but, as the Supplementary Statement on Defence Policy 1970 which was presented yesterday shows, to increase them in some important respects.

Mr. Moyle

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, called upon all countries in Western Europe to make substantially increased commitments to N.A.T.O. in view of likely American withdrawals. Are the figures to cover these substantially increased commitments in the White Paper tabled yesterday?

Lord Balniel

Yes, Sir; the increased commitments to N.A.T.O. are covered by the figures in the White Paper. They include the running on of the "Ark Royal". They include the increase of the number of Jaguar squadrons from five to nine, and the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve armoured car regiment.

Mr. George Thomson

In view of the increased number of Jaguars to be used for operational purposes and the reduced number for training purposes, how will the Minister fill the training gap?

Lord Balniel

An alternative trainer will be introduced at a lower cost.