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Arms Expenditure

Volume 718: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1965

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now make a statement on progress towards the proposed cuts in arms ependiture; and if he will state the approximate total expenditure he intends for 1966–67.

On the general question I have nothing at all to add at this stage to the statement which I made on 5th August; I would prefer not to make a forecast about expenditure in 1966–67 but it will, of course, be at a figure compatible with our 1969–70 target.

Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that the current review could result in a lower ceiling than that announced in August, and that he would welcome this? Secondly, without giving us any details, can he confirm that next year's total will be less than the current year's?

No. I can assure the House that it is my purpose and the purpose of the Government in this review to ensure that we bring our commitments, our military task and military capabilities into balance with each other—something that has not been the case for many years past. We shall do so within the figure of £2,000 million.