§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received to increase defence expenditure; in which fields and to what extent; and what were the nature of his replies to these requests for increased defence expenditure.
§ Mr. Mason
I have received representations on the subject of defence expenditure both oral and written from many sources including hon. Members. Many have expressed concern at the effect of cuts in the defence budget on employment in defence-related industries and among employees of the Ministry of Defence. Others have claimed that national security requires us to avoid making cuts in the budget. In reply I have made it clear that the planned level of defence expenditure would have to be increased if there are to be no adverse consequences for employment. I have, however, emphasised that while I sympathise with those whose job prospects will be affected, the Government are determined to reduce the demands of defence on national resources while maintaining our essential security.