HC Deb 25 January 1961 vol 633 cc29-30W
77. Mr. C. Osborne

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement on the outcome of his meeting with the clothing trade; how big are the orders for Army clothing which he wishes to place; for what reasons the trade cannot fulfil these orders; to what extent price is responsible for the delay; and among how many firms the orders are distributed.

Mr. Ramsden

As my right lion. Friend told the House on 14th December our present plans, under which orders have been given to ten firms, provided for the

Mr. Ramsden

As the last intakes of National Service men move through the training machine, Regular soldiers hitherto engaged on instruction are becoming available for reporting to their units. This will create temporary surpluses in the planned strengths of some arms and in order to avoid holding National Service men to serve unnecessarily some are being released up to three months early. The number involved is about 8,500 men. They will be drawn from among those who were called up between February and June, 1959, and will have completed at least twenty-one months reckonable service. It is not expected that it will be necessary to repeat these measures.

equipment of half the Army with one suit of the new uniform by the end of the next financial year. My right hon. Friend wanted to evaluate the possible advantages and the practicability of so accelerating this programme that the whole Army would be clothed in the new uniform by the end of 1961–62. To this end he held a meeting with representatives of the clothing trade who were most understanding and helpful. As a result of further consideration, however, he decided that the balance of advantage lay in adhering to the present programme. Price was not one of the factors in causing him to reach this decision.