asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will stop central selection of health centres and hospital schemes and allocate medium to long-term capital finance to the regional hospital boards.
I would refer the hon. Member to my replies to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) on 20th February—[Vol. 886, c. 510–11.]—which explain why and how selected in consultation with regional health authorities and how we intend to deal with forward programmes in the future. We have to deal exceptionally this year with the disruptive effect on the forward programme of planned capital building of the moratorium imposed by the previous Government in 1973–74 followed by the 20 per cent. cut in the 1974–75 capital programme. If we had not been able to restore in part those cuts, there would have been no new capital building starts in 1975–76. Health authorities will shortly be given provisional capital planning figures for a few years ahead and a statement of priorities and criteria to be observed in selecting schemes for their proposed programmes.