HC Deb 02 April 1968 vol 762 c167
35. Mr. David Howell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fall in the real value of average earnings he estimates will occur in 1968–69, after taking into account recent official estimates of future increases in prices and output.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the assessment of the economic outlook to mid–1969 in Part III of the Financial Statement for 1968–69.

Mr. Howell

Would it not be far better if the fall which these assessments show was a fall in public consumption in the coming year, rather than private consumption? Would the Chancellor be prepared to bring forward to the House specific cost reductions in annual targets for the main spending Departments so that we may discuss them and get a real pressure for economy going in public consumption?

Mr. Jenkins

I do not necessarily accept as axiomatic the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question. It depends upon what the money is spent on. As I indicated in my reply to the Budget debate, I thought that the hon. Gentleman, in that debate, made some interesting suggestions, which I will study.