HC Deb 15 May 1952 vol 500 cc1610-1
26. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total saving in Government expenditure that has been achieved since 1st November, 1951.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The provision in Estimates for 1952–53 for defence preparations in the broad sense is some £60 million greater than the provision for 1951–52, including the margin for Supplementaries. The provision for normal civil expenditure as defined by my right hon. Friend in his Budget speech is down in 1952–53, compared with 1951–52, by about £90 million allowing for the reduction of food subsidies and the increase of social benefits.

It is not possible to give a figure of total savings secured because it is not possible precisely to evaluate the effect of a policy of restriction of Government expenditure in discouraging the submission of new schemes and slowing down the rate of execution of existing schemes involving expenditure.

Mr. Nicholson

Will my hon. Friend make a calculation showing the real reduction in Government expenditure, taking into consideration the fall in the purchasing power of the £?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As my hon. Friend has suggested, the real reduction is larger than would be suggested in terms of pounds, shillings and pence, because of the fall in the value of the money in which it is expressed.

Mr. Hynd

Since the hon. Gentleman now admits that there has been a fall in the purchasing value of the £, how does he square that with all his party's Election pledges on the matter?