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1987-1990 - Mr Major’s Written Parliamentary Answer on Public Expenditure

Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Public Expenditure on 14th January 1988.


Mr. Neil Hamilton To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the trend of public expenditure as a proportion of national income.

Mr. Fallon To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the trend of public expenditure as a proportion of national income.

Mr. Major Public spending as a proportion of national income has been falling since 1982–83. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced plans in his Autumn Statement which will ensure that this trend continues.

Mr. Kirkwood To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to publish the White Paper on public expenditure.

Mr. Major The 1988 public expenditure White Paper will be published at 11 am on Wednesday 20 January and copies will be available in the Vote Office.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will describe the procedure and criteria used in determining the relative priorities accorded to the different programmes within the annual public expenditure planning total for 1988–89; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Major The public expenditure plans for 1988–89 announced in my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement were determined by the Government in the 1987 public expenditure survey, in addition to the specific policy reviews which go on throughout the year. Briefly, the survey process involved a review by each departmental Minister of his spending programme. In the light of these reviews there was a discussion in Cabinet in July which determined the framework for bilateral discussions between departmental Ministers and myself in the autumn. The plans agreed at these bilaterals were endorsed by Cabinet in October.

Decisions on priorities are based on detailed analysis and assessment of programmes, particularly in the area of efficiency and value for money, but ultimately such decisions must be a matter of political judgment. In the 1987 survey the Government's policies set out in our general election manifesto were reflected in expenditure decisions - for example, the increases in planned spending on education, health and inner cities.

Mr. Wood To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the trend of public expenditure as a proportion of national income.

Mr. Major I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr. Hamilton).

Mr. Chapman To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the outturn for public expenditure in 1987–88; and what is his latest estimate of revenue.

Mr. Major The Autumn Statement forecast for 1987–88 was for general Government expenditure of £172.8 billion and general Government receipts of £171.1 billion. More details are available in the 1987 Autumn Statement.

Mr. Thurnham To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the likely savings in public expenditure as a result of the recent proposals of the efficiency unit.

Mr. Brooke The efficiency unit proposals to which my hon. Friend refers are still under consideration.