asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the United Kingdom contribution to collective Western defence through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
I have been asked to reply.We believe that the defence of the West can best be ensured through the collective security provided by the North Atlantic Alliance. We therefore make a major contribution to NATO, concentrating on those areas where our forces can be of greatest benefit; that is, the Central region of Europe, the Eastern Atlantic and Channel the defence of the United Kingdom base and our nuclear forces. In the face of the growing Soviet threat, we are taking positive steps to improve the United Kingdom's contributions to the Alliance. Details of some of the improvements were given to my hon. Friend on 6 November 1979. Since that date the Government have published defence spending figures for this year and next which exceed NATO's 3 per cent. real growth aim.