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Public Expenditure

Volume 21: debated on Wednesday 31 March 1982

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish table 1·9 and 1·10 in volume 1 of Cmnd. 8494, "The Government's Expenditure Plans, 1982–83 to 1984–85", in constant 1981–82 prices.

[pursuant to his reply, 19 March 1982, c. 225]: No. Public expenditure is now planned in cash.Under the cash planning system, the framework within which public expenditure plans are made is financial. The old concept of "constant prices", which was developed for use in a real resources framework, is not relevant to this. Decisions are taken in cash. Agreed plans for expenditure expressed in constant prices in the old sense do not exist. The level of services that can be provided within the cash provision will depend on a great variety of changes in relative pay and prices over the survey period as well as the overall level of inflation. These changes cannot be reliably forecast, and figures to represent them are not collected comprehensively.In the discussions leading up to final decisions on cash programmes and in their subsequent administration, the Government are naturally concerned with the level of services which can be provided, but that is best considered as far as possible in terms of the output of each relevant programme, not in terms of aggregated constant price input figures of the old type.