asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the public sector borrowing requirement for 1986–87.
My latest estimate for the public sector borrowing requirement in 1986–87 is £4·1 billion, which is around 1 per cent. of gross domestic product. This represents the lowest that the PSBR has been as a percentage of GDP for 17 years.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is a very remarkable achievement to have cut the borrowing requirement to this extent in a year in which there have also been substantial cuts in taxation, and, in the autumn statement, a very substantial increase in public spending? Is this not just the kind of triple crown which, unfortunately, has eluded the English rugby team this year?
My hon. Friend is right, and, of course, this is the result of sound policies consistently pursued over a number of years, which have strengthened the economy to the point where this is possible. That, indeed, is what would be jeopardised were there to be any change, by any mischance, in the policies that have been pursued.