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280 Rifle (Development Expenditure)

Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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33.

asked the Minister of Supply what expenditure has been incurred in the production and testing of the ·280 rifle.

:I regret that figures are not available. The ·280 rifle was developed, produced and tested at several establishments, together with various other weapon projects. It would be difficult to assess what proportion of the expenditure of these establishments was incurred in connection with this particular weapon. Nor would it be practicable to separate the cost of work on the ·280 rifle from the work on the later ·300 type.

Is it not a shocking thing that we are spending a great deal of time and money on producing the best rifle in the world only for it to be thrown overboard because of the Prime Minister's desire to have a rifle with a butt?

The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to anticipate the debate which is about to take place. Whatever money may have been spent on development of the British version, there would, of course, be no economy in adopting it since the Belgian company does not intend to charge us any Royalty for the manufacturing rights of their rifle.