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War Office Purchasing (Repayment) Services

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 15 March 1962

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Motion made, and Question proposed,

That a sum, not exceeding £100, be granted to Her Majesty, for expenditure incurred by the War Office on the supply of munitions, common-user and other articles for the Government service, and on miscellaneous supply, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1963.

I wish to put two points to my hon. Friend. I wish to draw attention to the astronomical sum paid out for munitions and I should like to know the proportion of arms, munitions and guns bought in this country and abroad. For clothing and textiles there is a figure of £14,600,000. In the Estimate the figure is only £7 million for clothing and presumably the other £7 million is for textiles. I should like my hon. Friend to explain how the figure for textiles is arrived at.

I cannot give my hon. Friend the exact breakdown of purchases of guns, small arms, and equipment. Some of them are purchased from overseas when we find them particularly suitable. For example, the 105 mm. pack howitzer from Italy is the best weapon we have been able to find for its particular purpose. But I am advised that overseas purchases do not form a large proportion of the total. The answer, therefore, is that these are mainly purchases made at home—and, of course, my hon. Friend will not overlook the fact that there are also considerable sales overseas.

My hon. Friend also remarked on the sum of £14,600,000 for clothing and textiles, but he will no doubt remember that we are engaged in re-equiping the Army with Service dress, which explains the rather larger clothing element in the Vote as compared with the normal expenditure.

Question put and agreed to.