Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:43 pm on 19th March 1984.

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Photo of Mr Ralph Howell Mr Ralph Howell , North Norfolk 7:43 pm, 19th March 1984

That is one idea, but it would not be very successful. There is only one positive way out of the mess: it is not to rely on growth, but to cut waste in the public sector. We are wasting a huge amount of money, and the biggest waste of all is in local government. Why do we need 1 million more people in local government, costing on average £9,000 each a year in wages and associated costs? If we could get back to the figures for 1960, it would go a long way to solving the problem. In the entire public sector we are employing 2 million more people now than we did in 1960, and I do not believe that we are getting better results in education, for example, than we got then. We can solve the problem only if the Government get to grips with this matter and cut waste, extravagence and inefficiency in the public sector.

The Chancellor has shown that he is a radical Chancellor. I wish to encourage him to prove that he is very radical and can take the bold steps that must be taken if we are ever to solve the problems that confront the country at present, despite all that he has done in this Budget.