HC Deb 14 January 1975 vol 884 cc177-8
17. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will issue a tabular statement comparing military spending—under the principal heads in the Defence White Paper—in 1974–75 with that now estimated for each of the next four years.

Mr. Mason

As the answer is in the form of a chart, I will, with permission, publish it in the Official Report. I shall be considering what further detailed information on the defence review can helpfully be published after the consultation process.

Mr. Allaun

Do not my right hon. Friend's own figures show that, compared with this year, there has to be not a cutback but an increase in our spending? Secondly, will he recognise that harsh economic realities will force him to cut back, just as they did in 1968, and that it would be far better to do it now, before economic bankruptcy hits the country and the Labour Government suffer in consequence the fate which the Labour Government suffered at the 1970 General Election?

Mr. Mason

I am sorry to hear my hon. Friend's gloomy prognostications. Apparently he wants to talk the nation into economic bankruptcy. To the 35,000 people affected in the Services, the 10,000 in the defence industries and the 15,000 employed at Ministry of Defence establishments, these cuts are very real. I emphasise once more to my hon. Friend and to the House that when one embarks on cuts in defence expenditure one embarks upon cuts on what was planned and proposed in the long-term costings. In 1975–76 the planned expenditure on defence was to be £4,000 million. It will now be £3,700, a real cut of £300 million.

Following is the information:

The division of the Defence Budget Estimates for 1974–75 by principal headings is as follows:

£m. Per cent.
1. Expenditure on Personnel:
(a) Pay, allowances, etc. of the Armed Forces 883.7
(b) Armed Forces retired pay, pensions, etc. 185.0
(c) Pay, etc. of civilian staff 610.0
Total Personnel 1,678.7 46.5
2. Expenditure on Equipment:
(a) Sea Systems 306.4
(b) Land Systems 265.5
(c) Air Systems 593.5
(d) Other 123.0
Total Equipment 1,288.4 35.6
3. Other Expenditure:
(a) Works, buildings and lands (MOD) Cr. 34.0
(b) Works and buildings (DOE) 247.4
(c) Pay of DOE civilian staff 43.8
(d) Miscellaneous stores and services 387.7
Total Other 644.9 17.9
TOTAL 3,612.0 100.0

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