Public Investment and Expenditure

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th February 1966.

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Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 12:00 am, 8th February 1966

I am glad the hon. Gentleman asked me that because, perhaps, he did not hear what I said. I told the House that £200 million worth of capital projects had been deferred. Capital projects do not necessarily all get completed in one financial year. Therefore, the total effect of the deferment is to defer, for a period of six months, total projects worth £200 million. But that is not to say that £200 million worth of work would have been done in 1966. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman understands that. It is worth about £40 million in the current year, 1965–66, and about £60 million in the next financial year.

I realise the anxiety of right hon. and hon. Members opposite about by-elections. I can only tell them that this replacement of the old system of deferment by individual projects by an overall limitation on the level of expenditure is a matter of mechanics. If this statement had been ready before the Hull by-election, it would have been made. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I dare say that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen have not forgotten that there will soon be another by-election, at Falmouth and Camborne, when we shall beat them again.