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Summary Of Out-Turn

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 6 April 1954

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My Budget estimate, the Committee will remember, was a surplus above the line of £109 million. The actual result was a surplus of £94 million, within £15 million of the estimate. Below the line, we have done better than the estimate as regards both receipts and payments. On the receipts side, we have had £42 million in repayment of advances from the Raw Cotton Commission, compared with the estimate of £10 million; and on the payments side, we have issued £299 million by way of loans to local authorities, compared with the forecast of £400 million.

As the Committee know, this does not mean that the local authorities have reduced their capital expenditure. On the contrary, they have energetically maintained their investment in houses and other capital assets. It does mean that they have also shown energy and skill in raising their capital from outside sources. It is now 15 months since they were given their freedom to raise loans in the stock and mortgage markets, and from other non-Government sources. The figures show that many of them have made good use of their opportunities; and their action has assisted the Exchequer. This is a movement that I expect to continue, as the Committee will see when I come to my estimates for the year ahead.

In all, therefore, as compared with the estimate of £549 million for total net outgoings below the line, the actual figure was £391 million, or a saving of £158 million. Thanks to the fall in payments below the line combined with the surplus above the line, the net overall outgoings have been reduced to £297 million.