Social Services (Cost)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons on 25th April 1944.

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Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with regard to Acts of Parliament dealing with public and social services, approximately what percentage of their cost falls on the taxpayer and ratepayer, respectively.

Photo of Sir John Anderson Sir John Anderson , Combined Scottish Universities

Particulars of the receipts from which expenditure on the public social services is met have not been collected since the war, and I fear that staff is not now available for this purpose. The latest figures, published in November, 1938, are those relating to the financial year 1936, and I am circulating with the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the percentages of the receipts in that year drawn from various sources.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

Might I ask, in view of the fact that this House, by enactments, is putting increasing burdens on the ratepayers, if the right hon. Gentleman will set up a Commission of Inquiry to consider whether the raising of money by rates and by taxes could not be more, equitably distributed?

Photo of Sir John Anderson Sir John Anderson , Combined Scottish Universities

I think that hardly arises on the Question.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

When preparing these statistics, promised in his reply, will the right hon. Gentleman take great care that in the total amounts paid on pensions, unemployment and health insurance, account is taken of the contributions from employers and employed, and that these are not mixed up with State grants?

Photo of Sir John Anderson Sir John Anderson , Combined Scottish Universities

The statement that is being prepared draws that distinction quite clearly.

Following is the statement:

The following table shows the sources of the receipts from which expenditure on the public social services was met in 1936, and the amount and percentage of the receipts drawn from the various sources in that year.

Sourcealign="center">Amountalign="center">Percentage
£ millions
Parliamentary Votes23246
Local Rates and Block Grants*12324
Contributions, fees, interest, rents, etc.44930
Total504100
* The block grants are given as a contribution to local revenues and cannot be apportioned among the various services of which the cost is met from local revenues.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the policy of the Government as to the percentage of the national income it is practicable and desirable to expend on public and social services.

Photo of Sir John Anderson Sir John Anderson , Combined Scottish Universities

As I informed my hon. Friend on 23rd March, I do not think the subject of his question lends itself readily to arithmetical rules.

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

Will the Chancellor not agree that money spent on social services passes through trade and comes back into the national income?