HC Deb 12 February 1980 vol 978 cc563-4W
22. Mr. Robert Atkins

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the planned increase in defence spending over the next five years.

Mr. Pym

The Government have subscribed to the NATO aim of increases in defence spending in the region of 3 per cent a year in real terms. As regards the detailed figures for the period up to 1983–84, I must ask my hon. Friend to await the publication of the public expenditure White Paper and the Statement on the Defence Estimates.

Mr. Leighton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the total amount spent on defence since 1945 by the United Kingdom and Japan respectively.

Mr. Pym

The cumulative total for United Kingdom defence expenditure in the period from 1946–47 to 1979–80 is £87,951 million. Information on Japanese defence expenditure is available only for the period from 1958–59, since which year about 15,550 billion yen have been spent on defence. In the corresponding period, the United Kingdom has spent £73,485 million.

39. Mr. Renton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence within what time scale he expects the current increase in British defence spending to have a significant effect on Great Britain's capacity to defend herself in either a nuclear or a conventional war.

Mr. Pym

Major improvements in defence capability necessarily take a period of years to come to fruition. But the measures the Government have already taken, notably the restoration of Service pay comparability and the increase in bounties for volunteer reservists, which have led to improved recruitment and retention rates, have enhanced the nation's defences and our contribution to NATO. A full account of the Government's plans will appear in the Statement on the Defence Estimates.