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Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 11 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Service men have been satisfactorily resettled in the United Kingdom home base since their return from Cyprus in August 1974; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force
(Mr. Brynmor John)

Relatively few Service men returned to the United Kingdom in August, although 3,657 Service families came back to the United Kingdom at about that time. All the families have been satisfactorily resettled, either in Service accommodation or through private arrangements.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. What consideration is being given to withdrawing from the base completely? Is it not necessary for us to think in terms of an international peacekeeping force in the area, so that the families of all Service men there can be brought back to Britain?

My hon. Friend will know that in the defence review consideration is being given to the future of the Cyprus base, among other considerations, and I cannot possibly anticipate that review.

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether satisfactory arrangements have been made to reimburse families who lost property through looting or other causes during the disturbances in Cyprus? What steps are being taken to safeguard properties which have not yet been subject to looting?

As I understand it, the situation regarding future looting is satisfactory. On the arrangements for the compensation of families, the hon. Gentleman will know that they have been subjected to quick and sympathetic consideration.