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War Economy

Defence Construction Expenditure

Defence Construction Expenditure

From 1939–40 to 1945–46, over £50 million of defence construction work was controlled by the Public Works Department and the Housing Construction Department.3

The need for new army camps gave rise to one of the largest demands for defence construction work. In all, over £16 million of page 230 construction work of various types was done for the Army. Naval construction work amounted to £3 ½ million, and Air Force work, including, in particular, the acceleration of aerodrome construction, amounted to nearly £16 million. Work on behalf of the United States Forces, predominantly camps and military hospitals, was valued at over £7 million. Civil defence work, including air-raid protection works, munition factories, and the like, approached £8 million in value.

Expenditure from year to year is shown in Chart 50. From between £3 million and £4 million a year in the first two war years, it rose to over £5 million in 1941–42; then, under the influence of the Japanese invasion threat, and boosted by the needs of United States forces in New Zealand, it rocketed to over £17 million in 1942–43.

chart of economic statistics

Chart 50
by public works and housing construction departments

3 Housing Construction was a branch of the State Advances Corporation and later a division of the Public Works Department, but it was commonly known as a Department.