In the United Kingdom, there are about 400,000 tons of equipment and 15,000 vehicles at present declared surplus. At a rough estimate, the disposal value is £10 million. Disposal is being arranged by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply in the usual way. About 40,000 tons of surplus equipment in our depots overseas is in course of disposal by the local military authorities.
I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is doing his best, but is it not possible to improve on that result by taking this business out of the hands of the Ministry of Supply? Is there not a great deal of dilatoriness on the part of the Ministry of Supply in disposing of surplus goods? What is the point of having the surplus goods? Are they not absorbing accommodation and manpower and, therefore, involving expenditure; and is that desirable?
That has not been my experience in dealing with the Ministry of Supply, but if I give the right hon. Gentleman this information I think it will help him in getting the answer that I think he wants. We actually received about £6·2 million from sales in this country last year, and in the current year we expect to receive about £12 million. So, in fact, the rate of disposal is considerably higher this year than it was last.