asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the items which will figure in the intended 3 per cent. increase in defence expenditure.
Defence Estimates for 1980–81 are still in preparation and it is, therefore, too early to say precisely how the defence budget for that year will be be allocated. Our intention is, however, to devote the additional funds to strengthen the fighting efficiency of the forces, in particular by pressing ahead with their re-equipment programmes.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest estimate of the percentage of gross national product spent on military purposes by (a) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and (b) the NATO Alliance.
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 15 November on Soviet military expenditure. NATO calculates its own defence expenditure as a proportion of gross domestic product, and the average such proportion in 1978 was 4·2 per cent.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the current level of defence expenditure.
The original total of defence budget Estimates for the current year was £8,557·7 million at forecast outturn prices. The proposed increases which I explained in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill) on 16 November—[Vol. 973, c. 801–802]—will bring the total defence cash provision for the current year to £9,106·3 million.