HC Deb 18 July 1968 vol 768 c273W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is aware of the high prices charged by the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes in Germany, and the lack of variety, selection and competitiveness in their goods; and whether he will arrange for some of the major British supermarket stores and companies to be given facilities for establishing shops in areas where British troops are stationed.

Mr. Reynolds

In general, the prices of goods, retailed by N.A.A.F.I., both at home and abroad, are based on the prevailing prices for similar goods in civilian shops. In N.A.A.F.I. shops overseas, however, the prices charged reflect any customs or tax concessions enjoyed by Her Majesty's Forces and the costs arising from freight, insurance and special packing in the case of goods imported from the U.K. or elsewhere.

I cannot agree that there is any lack of variety or selection in N.A.A.F.I. shops, which have some 10,000 items in everyday supply, ranging from drink and tobacco, groceries and provisions, vegetables, fruit and meat to clothing, sports equipment., gifts and household appliances.

As regards the second part of the Question, N.A.A.F.I.'s rôle is to cater for the welfare and needs of Her Majesty's Forces and their dependants worldwide, under the control of the Defence Council. Its employees when overseas are subject to a measure of Service discipline and its surpluses are distributed at the direction of the Defence Council for the benefit of the Services. In Germany, by agreement with the Federal Republic, and in common with certain other non-German, nonprofit making organisations, N.A.A.F.I. enjoys the status of an integral part of the British Forces. Such a privilege could not be accorded to a solely commercial organisation without re-negotiating the Agreement.