HC Deb 19 January 1976 vol 903 cc901-2
4. Mr. Wyn Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish estimates of central Government revenue and expenditure attributable to Wales for the years subsequent to 1968–69.

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. John Morris)

I have no immediate proposals for publishing a further Welsh budget. Work is in hand on the considerable technical problems involved and I shall keep the matter under review.

Mr. Roberts

Meanwhile, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirm the conclusion of the 1968–69 estimate, namely, that there was a large imbalance between Government expenditure in Wales and revenue attributable to Wales? Is he aware that many people in Wales are not aware of the true position?

Mr. Morris

The position in the 1968 publication was set out to show the balance as it then stood. Those figures were then challenged, and there are difficult problems arising from the methodology of setting up such an exercise.

Mr. Kinnock

Will my right hon and learned Friend say whether any more money for housing, housing improvement, schools, hospitals and health centres will arise in Wales following devolution? Does he consider that devolution will decrease the amount of money available for expenditure for necessary purposes in Wales?

Mr. Morris

We have made it clear that we would expect the totality of funds available to be the same. Our proposals are relevant to the way in which the totality of the cake is shared out in accordance with the conflicting demands within Wales.

Mr. Wigley

If the Secretary of State undertakes another exercise to update these figures, will he ensure that he does not fall into the same trap as a predecessor of his fell into in a previous White Paper and shows sums allocated to Wales in respect of matters such as defence and other costs that are not spent in Wales and which distort the conclusions that may be arrived at?

Mr. Morris

These are the very challenges which were made to the publication at the time. Obviously, one cannot look, from the wholly domestic side, at the receipts from which Wales benefits either directly or indirectly. It is vital that Wales is properly defended. That is taken into account in the context of the whole of the United Kingdom.

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