HC Deb 27 July 1982 vol 28 cc916-7
13. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be able to estimate the total annual cost of maintaining Her Majesty's forces on the Falkland Islands.

9. Mr. Timothy Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the continuing arrangements for the security of the Falkland Islands.

Mr. Nott

A number of options are currently being considered for the long-term defence of the Falkland Islands. No decisions have yet been taken, and it is, therefore, too early to say what the annual cost will be.

Mr. Hamilton

Do Her Majesty's Government intend going it alone in providing a fortress in the South Atlantic? Did the Secretary of State see the estimate in a national newspaper a week or two ago that £600 million a year would be needed to sustain such a fortress? How many hospitals and houses could be built in this country for that sum?

Mr. Nott

I have seen many estimates in the press, but the hon. Gentleman will no doubt feel that it is just as worth while to defend 2,000 British subjects from aggression as it is to defend a greater number. That is what we intend to do.

Mr. Michael Marshall

With regard to the future cost of the defence of the Falklands, will my right hon. Friend consider the overall role of British defence equipment and the way in which we shall need to select those items which have proved most effective in the Falklands? Will he express his appreciation of that equipment and of all those who work in our defence industry?

Mr. Nott

I shall do as my hon. Friend asks. Our first assessment of the equipment used in the Falklands was that it had performed admirably. It would be invidious to single out particular weapons, but we shall shortly be advising industry on the performance of individual weapon systems, so that they can be sold overseas.

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