HC Deb 12 July 1984 vol 63 cc1349-50
9. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any recent payments have been made from the Contingencies Fund in connection with the construction of the airport in the Falklands.

Mr. Peter Rees


Mr. Dalyell

In that case, who is paying the unforeseen costs of lugging thousands of tonnes of tillite and quarzite rock 8,000 miles from Bristol and Oxford to the Falklands—from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere—for the Margaret Thatcher international airport? Does the Treasury accept The Sunday Times figure of £3 million a day for the Falklands? Where does expenditure on the Falklands come in the Government's list of priorities for this week? Is it sacrosanct?

Mr. Rees

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that Falklands expenditure is not sacrosanct. The items to which he refers are carried by the Ministry of Defence budget.

Sir John Biggs-Davison

Will not the outlay on the enlargement of the airfield enable military expenditure on the Falklands to be greatly reduced and the islands' economy to be improved?

Mr. Rees

That is indeed our hope.

Mr. Hattersley

Having accepted and answered—I believe uniquely—a question about the use of the Contingencies Fund, will the Chief Secretary publish in the Official Report how much of the fund has already been used because of the miners' strike, spending by local authorities, an estimated error in the unemployment figures, and other Government over-expenditure?

Mr. Rees

I believe that the right hon. Gentleman is confusing what used to be called the Contingencies Reserve and is now called the Reserve with the Contingencies Fund. The two are quite different.

Mr. Hattersley


Mr. Speaker

Order. We often get answers that we do not like.