§ Q19. Mr. Latham
asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on progress in achieving the Government's objectives to strengthen the operational capability of Her Majesty's Forces.
§ The Prime Minister
We are supporting NATO's long-term defence programme, and we are committed to the aim of annual growth in defence expenditure of 3 per cent. in real terms. Following our award of fully comparable pay to the Armed Forces, recruitment and retention are now improving. We have already announced a number of worthwhile improvements to our air defences, including the formation of an additional Lightning squadron. We are also continuing our programme to maintain the effectiveness of our strategic deterrent. We shall give high priority to these and other measures needed to safeguard our national security.