HC Deb 11 March 1971 vol 813 cc566-7
20. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement on naval recruitment.

Mr. Kirk

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Lane) on 11th February.—[Vol. 811, c. 762–3.]

Mr. Farr

I have not got that answer before me.

May I ask my hon. Friend whether he feels that there would be a real stimulus to naval recruitment if we had a more energetic naval shipbuilding programme and, in particular, if we made some commitment to building a fifth Polaris submarine?

Mr. Kirk

Naval recruiting is up 23 per cent. this year over last year. We are just embarking on the largest naval shipbuilding programme for many decades, and the option to build a fifth Polaris submarine remains open.

Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles

The information which my hon. Friend has just given is welcome. But will he realise that there are also certain small pinpricks which exert a disproportionate effect on recruiting and Service conditions, one of which is leave warrants for men on weekend leave? Will my hon. Friend join his right hon. Friend in expediting action on this point?

Mr. Kirk

I understand that my noble Friend will be writing to my hon. and gallant Friend about it.

Mr. John Morris

Will the hon. Gentleman stop prevaricating on the Government's intention about a fifth Polaris submarine? Will the hon. Gentleman answer one simple question: has any money been earmarked in the long-term costings of the Government for this submarine?

Mr. Kirk

I never prevaricate. The long-term costings are confidential.

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