§ Mr. Marlow
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the annual escalation in defence equipment costs as to over and above the retail price index; and what is the effect of this on the annual overall percentage increase in cost arising from developments in technology.
§ Mr. Speed
In the period 1969 to 1979—for which comparisons are readily available—the retail price index rose at an annual average rate of 12.6 per cent. During this period defence equipment prices rose at an annual average rate of 15 per cent. Increases in costs arising from developments, in technology are not included in these figures as they represent real, qualitative improvements in the goods purchased. It is the latter increases that represent the rising real cost of equipment which has to be contained