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Departmental Expenditure

Volume 127: debated on Thursday 11 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which of his spending programmes will show a reduction in real terms in any of the next three years as compared with 1987–88 expenditure; and what is the figure of each reduction in each year.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer which I gave on 25 January, Official Report columns 121–24 in reply to an earlier question from him, from which the information now requested can easily be derived.I have already explained that it is misleading to make comparisons between public expenditure plans for one year and outturn (or estimated outturn) for other years.It will be readily seen that for 1988–89, planned provision in Cmnd. 288 for programmes within my other services block increases substantially over the comparable levels of planned expenditure provision in Cmnd. 56 for 1987–88. Reductions in planned provision for roads and transport (£10 million) housing (£6 million) other environmental services (£5 million) and arts and libraries (£1 million) are more than offset by increases in education (£34 million) and health and personal social services (£51 million). These are in addition to the increase in planned provision of £46 million for my industry, trade and employment programme. It means therefore that, within the programme as a whole, for each £1 of reductions there are more than £5 of increases.For 1989–90 and 1990–91 the distribution between programmes within my other services block is illustrative only. Decisions on the public expenditure totals and within that the allocation to individual block programmes will be taken in future public expenditure surveys.