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British Troops, Colonial Territories (Costs)

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 6 April 1954

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41 and 42.

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) to what extent the cost of maintaining British troops in Colonial Territories falls on the British, and on the colonial, taxpayer, respectively;

(2) to what extent the cost of transporting British troops between the United Kingdom and Colonial Territories falls on the British, and on the colonial, taxpayer, respectively.

It depends on the circumstances. Where United Kingdom troops are stationed in Colonial Territories for reasons of Commonwealth defence, the cost of transporting and maintaining them there is met from United Kingdom funds, but the Colonies are encouraged to make contributions towards the general costs of Commonwealth defence. Where the troops are sent to help to preserve or restore order, the Colonies are expected to pay, so far as they can afford to do so, the extra costs, including transport.

Can the Minister tell us what say the citizens of the Colonial Territories have in the employment of such troops, what is the total amount of money which they contribute annually towards this military expenditure, and why they should pay so heavily for the blunders of the Colonial Secretary?

Those are different and much more detailed questions, which do not arise out of this one.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that all those who are concerned with the welfare, good government and security of the colonial peoples consider this as money well spent?

Can the Minister tell us who is going to pay for the 19 new colonial battalions, about which he was so coy last week?

I am far from coy about these battalions, but without notice I could not give the hon. Member a detailed answer.