Public Expenditure

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th March 1965.

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Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough 12:00 am, 9th March 1965

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in view of the statement by the Governor of the Bank of England that a marked cut in public expenditure was necessary to prevent another sterling crisis, and that civil estimates have risen from £4,304 million to £7,388 million in the last 10 years, if he will appoint an independent committee to investigate and recommend where cuts could be made; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

Is not the Chancellor of the Exchequer aware that some local authorities are having to pay as much as 9 per cent. on temporary loans, which will put up their housing costs enormously? Will he promise the country that at least he will reduce the 7 per cent. Bank Rate within the next six months?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I do not think that an independent committee to investigate and recommend where cuts could be made is likely to help local authorities who are asking for more access to the Public Works Loan Board.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

If the right hon. Gentleman will not exercise this power, surely he should get someone from outside to help him to do the job.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The hon. Gentleman does not seem to appreciate that what he is asking for is that local authorities should have more access to public funds, which the Exchequer would have to carry below the line, so that it would have to borrow more from the money market.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will produce a new White Paper on Public Expenditure to replace that produced in December 1963, Command Paper No. 2235.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

It is my intention to present a further White Paper on Public Expenditure later in the year.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that Answer will give very great satisfaction in view of the gross deception incorporated in the previous Government's White Paper? In reference to the figures in paragraph 12 of that White Paper, in which there are 14 items ranging from defence to administrative and other services, can my right hon. Friend give me one of those figures which is accurate?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I regret to say that I have not checked those figures. I have been so occupied trying to reduce public expenditure to some form of order out of the chaos in which we found it. What I can do is give my hon. Friend a guarantee that when we produce our figures later in the year, they will at least be realistic and related to what the economy can stand.