HC Deb 14 April 1964 vol 693 cc250-1

I turn to the Exchequer out-turn for 1963–64, and the Exchequer prospects for 1964–55. The main details of the out-turn are shown in the first three tables of the Blue Paper.

Total revenue last year was £6,890 million; that is, £51 million above the estimate. Expenditure above the line came out at £6,817 million, £112 million less than the Budget estimate. The result above the line was a surplus of £73 million compared with a forecast deficit of £90 million. Net payments below the line, at £551 million, were £46 million less than expected. Thus, the overall deficit was £478 million—209 million less than I forecast last year. In terms of demand on the economy the difference was much less. Departments were spending rather more than they received in Exchequer issues to the extent of about £20 million by being able to draw on their balances.

Some of the shortfalls in lending below the line—£7 million in lending to the private sector and £47 million in lending to public corporations—were the result not of less investment than expected, but of a different way of financing it, while not all of the shortfall of £14 million in loans to overseas Governments meant reduced real demand on our economy.

On the other side of the account much of the higher revenue was due to a circumstance which is unlikely to have had much effect on consumer spending: the yield of taxes on capital was up by £31 million because valuation for death duties, and so on, reflected high Stock Exchange prices. For these reasons, a substantial part of the divergence between the Exchequer out-turn and the forecast, though significant from the financial point of view, did not represent any reduction in the stimulus which it was intended to give to the economy.