asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total annual cost of upkeep in the current year of airfields, Army camps and other service establishments which are not fully used at the present time.
Can my hon. Friend say whether this includes the cost of upkeep of the airfields and establishments other than the 42 which are required for changing requirements in the course of the year, namely, those which have been declared redundant and those which are being rebuilt? Does not he think that there is a vast waste of resources in this situation, and will he give further consideration to the possibility of drastic economies and to using such facilities for civilian purposes, even if at a later stage these are required by the military authorities?
This does not include premises which are being rebuilt or which have an operational purpose. A large part of the money is required for the maintaining of runways—they have to be maintained to rather exacting standards—which are not in use at the moment, but for which there is still a possible operational requirement. I cannot accept that premises are being held unnecessarily. We are at present disposing of about 58,000 acres of land.