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Sea Cadets, Dewsbury (Equipment)

Volume 645: debated on Wednesday 26 July 1961

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asked the Minister of Defence why his Department and the Service Departments concerned were unable to meet the request of the Dewsbury Sea Cadets for the loan of one small marquee, two small tents and some cooking equipment for their summer camp.

I have already written to the hon. Member on this subject. We always want to help Cadet units as far as we can; it is patently in our interests to do so. Nevertheless the demand for this kind of equipment during the summer months, when service training is at its height, is very great and some units must inevitably be disappointed. I am sorry that we could not meet this particular request.

But is the Minister aware that this is an extremely bad piece of public relations by his Department and the Service Departments generally? Is he aware that my constituents were willing to fetch and transport the tentage if it were made available? Is he further aware that the Departments cannot really have it both ways; either they will not make the tentage available as a matter of principle, or, which I cannot believe, the tentage is simply not there? Finally, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, despite his lack of co-operation, the camp will go on anyway?

I am very glad to hear that the camp will go on, because I spent a great deal of time on this matter personally, as the hon. Gentleman knows, and I am very sorry that we could not meet the request.