§ Mr. Wilson
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what have been recent trends in the proportion of the defence budget spent on equipment; and what assessment has been made of the reasons for these trends.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
I refer the hon. Member to table 2.2 of volume 2 of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1988" (Cm 344-II). Planned defence procurement expenditure in 1988–89 allows for a real increase of some 19 per cent. compared with the outturn for 1978–79, using a measure of inflation based on movements in the price of defence equipment. Furthermore, our commercial approach to defence procurement has enabled us to achieve substantially better value for the money which we spend on equipment.