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Overseas Maintenance

Volume 436: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1947

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asked the Minister of Defence what proportion of the £1,653,000,000 spent during 1946–47 on the supply services was spent for the maintenance of Forces abroad; whether he will state in detail the spheres where such money was spent; what proportion of this amount spent abroad had to be paid for in dollars; and whether the proportion of the £899,000,000 to be spent on the supply services during 1947–48 which will have to be spent in dollars will be approximately equal to the proportion spent in 1946–47.

The figure quoted by the hon. Member is the total of the Exchequer issues made during last financial year against Navy, Army, Air and Ministry of Supply Votes. It includes not only expenditure of all kinds for the Forces, but also expenditure by the Ministry of Supply for civil purposes. It would be quite impossible to say how much of this figure can properly be regarded as having been spent on main-tenance of Forces overseas. I regret, therefore, that I am unable to provide the information for which the hon. Member asks.

Cannot the Minister provide the information under the third section relating to particulars of expenditure of dollars, and would not that be very useful for this House to know and a valuable hint for the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

I think it is quite impossible to divide up every part of this expenditure so as to show exactly where stores, allowances and so on are finally expended.