HC Deb 11 March 1971 vol 813 cc555-6
1. Mr. Wilkinson

asked the Minister of State for Defence whether he will compare the percentage of the defence budget devoted to pay and allowances in the financial years 1961–62 and 1966–67, with that percentage projected for 1971–72.

The Minister of State for Defence (Lord Balniel)

I assume that the Question refers to Regular Service personnel. On that basis, the required percentages are 22.0, 22.8 and 27.2.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does my noble Friend agree that the increase for the last period bodes ill because if we are to maintain defence spending as a fixed target in the next four years, unless some drastic new policy to cut down manpower costs is initiated, equipment programmes or force levels could suffer?

Lord Balniel

I take the point which my hon. Friend makes, but the introduction of the military salary concept in 1971–72 resulted in a relatively marked improvement in military pay, and that is the major reason.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

In view of the poor recruitment figures, does not my hon. Friend agree that it might be better to raise pay and allowances by 1 or 2 per cent.?

Lord Balniel

We shall certainly continuously review the pay of the Forces, and if an improvement in pay is necessary, that is one of the matters we will bear in mind.

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