Long-Term Aircraft Programme

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th March 1968.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 7th March 1968

Whatever the position, I recall the hon. Gentleman being despondent about the future of the R.A.F. and I clearly remember him saying that he would not encourage his son to join it. In any event, I hope that his son is prospering in another career.

Over the years the hon. Gentleman has gone from despondency to elation about the R.A.F. and the future of the military aircraft industry. Today he is in a state of despondency because he thinks that the Labour Government have ruined the industry and that there is not much future far it. My view is entirely the opposite. I have criticised this vast expenditure and I am here today to continue that criticism. We are being asked to vote £557 million, which is £30 million more than last year. We are supposed to be in a financial crisis. We are worried about the state of the £. All these financial considerations seem to vanish through the door when we discuss the Votes for the Services.

As in the past, I am here as the unofficial representative of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I want to know what we are getting for this money. I also have a constituency interest to declare. At last I am able to say that we in South Ayrshire have got something for this expenditure of £557 million. In the recent storms in South Ayrshire an R.A.F. helicopter fed sheep on the hillside with turnips from the air. It was the first real contribution that I have been able to acknowledge for my constituents in the last 20 years from the Services. The only value we have got for our money over the years is this action by the R.A.F., which sent out a helicopter to save 600 sheep from starvation in the snow.