§ 10. Mr. Hall-Davis
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will undertake a study of the means of identifying disparities in the rate of public expenditure per head of population between different economic regions.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Economic Affairs (Mr. T. W. Urwin)
No, Sir. Public expenditure per head of population is a misleading measure of the benefits of the totality of public expenditure to any region.
§ Mr. Hall-Davis
I accept that there must and will be variations between regions, but is not this a statistical field of real significance? If the hon. Gentleman's Department is to justify its continued existence, should it not undertake this study and not shy away from its complexity?
§ Mr. Urwin
The hon. Gentleman is in some difficulty about the allocation, bearing in mind that that expenditure per head is distinctly misleading, particularly as the available figures are limited to expenditure on new construction only. The expenditure per head is misleading for a number of reasons. It is not allocated on this basis and in many cases the benefits of the expenditure are not limited to any single region.
§ Dr. Ernest A. Davies
Would my hon. Friend agree that expenditure in neighbouring regions is also beneficial to the North-West—for example, the money being spent to extend the M62 from Stretford into Yorkshire?