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Public Finance

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost was of Government in the UK, including local government, in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 1997-98. (227883)

Latest figures for total managed expenditure are (a) £583.0 billion for 2007-08 and (b) £322.0 billion for 1997-98. This information can be found in the latest Public Sector Finances Databank at (Table B1):

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/5552.htm

Total managed expenditure is a measure of current and capital expenditure for the whole of the public sector, including public corporations and local government.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's overall potential financial liability is as a result of the measures taken to support the British banking system in the last 12 months. (227886)

The extent to which additional financial liabilities will come on to the public sector balance sheet depends on decisions over classification yet to be taken by the independent Office for National Statistics (ONS). On 16 October 2008 the ONS made an announcement on the process—see:

www.statistics.gov.uk

However, as the Chancellor set out in his statement the House on 13 October 2008 any additional borrowing and debt incurred by the Government is either in return for assets, charged at commercial rates or in the form of a temporary loan to the banks. So the most appropriate measures of Government borrowing and debt to judge the position of the public finances will be ones that exclude the Government's stake in the banking sector.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when his Department last reviewed the notional cost of capital used in departmental resource accounts; what recent estimate he has made of the difference between the notional cost and the actual cost of financing Government borrowing; and when he plans next to review the notional cost used. (227912)

The cost of capital charge in departmental resource accounts is set at the social time preference rate. This is the rate at which society values spending in the present compared to the future. It was set in 2003 and operation of the charge is kept under review.