asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether there will be a fall in total public spending on the health and personal social services in 1977–78 compared with the current year.
No, Sir. The total public spending planned for the health and personal social services in England is £7 million greater in 1977–78 than in 1976–77 at 1976 survey prices.
I wonder whether the Secretary of State could reconcile that with the figures in the Public Expenditure White Paper, which indicate a fall.
Yes, indeed. The figures for health and personal social services took account of the estimated revenue from the levy on motorists through vehicle insurers. The net amount of these services will, therefore, be higher by this amount—in England, £15½ million in 1977–78 and £34 million annually thereafter, at 1976 prices. Therefore, that factor was not included in the figures that the hon. Gentleman read.
Does the Minister agree that reduction in public spending is assisted by the income derived from pay beds? What steps is he taking to ensure that the Health Services Board carries out the Goodman proposals, fulfils the undertakings that the Minister gave to the House and carries out the requirements of the Act?
First, the revenue for the year about which we are talking, 1977–78, would have been very modest indeed in terms of pay beds. Secondly, the Health Services Board is, of course, carrying out absolutely to the letter the conditions laid down by the legislation of this House. I have very great confidence in the Chairman and members of the Health Services Board, who are doing their job very well.