HC Deb 09 March 1982 vol 19 c359W
Mr. Latham

asked the Prime Minister what are the main priorities of Her Majesty's Government in the defence policy sphere; and what steps are taken to match commitments to available resources.

The Prime Minister

It is the fundamental priority of the Government to ensure the nation's security in the face of the growing military capability of the Warsaw Pact. This aim is best achieved through co-operation with our allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. We are totally committed to NATO and to the alliance's deterrent strategy of flexible response and forward defence. We shall continue to provide a broad range of forces in fulfilment of our four main roles: strategic nuclear deterrence and defence of the United Kingdom base, the central front and the Eastern Atlantic. We are committed to plan to implement in full the NATO aim of real increases in defence spending in the region of 3 per cent. a year; our plans to ensure cost effective use of resources were set out in Cmnd. 8288. But defence must be complemented by arms control efforts: we actively support the United States position in the talks at Geneva on intermediate-range nuclear forces, and shall ourselves continue to work for greater stability at lower levels of all types of armament.