HC Deb 22 January 1986 vol 90 cc303-4
16. Mr. Freeson

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from local authorities concerning the level of capital applications made for 1986–87.

Mr. Waldegrave

I have received a number of letters about those capital allocations for which my right hon. Friend's Department is responsible.

Mr. Freeson

Does the Minister recall that during the past six years there has been a reduction of gross capital expenditure—which includes capital receipts—from just over £5,000 million to a current figure of about £2,500 million a year, a reduction of 50 per cent. in gross capital expenditure available? Is he further aware that in the past two years alone there has been a reduction of £1,000 million in real terms? How is it possible for local authorities to undertake repair, construction and other capital schemes, by themselves or jointly with the private sector, if there is a constant reduction in the capital available to them for housing purposes?

Mr. Waldegrave

The Government have to judge the balance between public and private investment. The restraint on public investment, which of course causes problems for those public authorities, is part of the picture that has led us to have overall record investment, including public and private, in the economy at present.