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Cadet Forces (Equipment And Uniforms)

Volume 982: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the standard of equipment and uniform supplied to the cadet forces of the four major services.

One can never be fully satisfied, but I believe the general position is satisfactory.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the Government should give more support and encouragement to the cadet forces, not only because they provide a source of recruitment for the regular and reserve forces, but because they provide forms of youth training which are not normally available in the community?

I am happy to confirm the important contribution of the cadet forces. There are plans for issuing small quantities of the 7ยท62 mm target rifle, radio equipment and further items of clothing. Matters of that kind are in hand, but my hon. Friend must bear in mind that we are operating at a time of considerable financial constraint.

Since considerable sums of taxpayers' money are spent on uniforms will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that British textile sources will be used to supply them, thus ensuring the preservation of jobs and avoiding the need for the taxpayer having to finance unemployment and supplementary benefits when jobs are lost as a result of garments being imported?

On the information that I have about uniforms being issued to the Army and other cadet forces, that point does not arise.