§ 8. Mr. Arbuthnot
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the path of general Government expenditure over the period 1982–83 to the latest available date.
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
As the Government have increased public spending and at the same time reduced it as a proportion of gross domestic product, and reduced our rates of taxation as well the national debt, does my right hon. Friend share my hope that this Government will stay in power for a very long time?
§ Mr. Wells
Why is it that ever since my right hon. Friend took office in the Government there has been an annual decline in Government spending as a proportion of GDP? Why did that not happen earlier and when will my right hon. Friend be able to reduce that ratio to the 33 per cent. which obtains in Japan?
§ Mr. Beith
Will the Chief Secretary confirm that capital spending is declining consistently as a proportion of Government expenditure, and does he agree that that is bad news for any organisation? Will he recognise that one of the less inflationary things that the Chancellor could do in the Budget would be to invest more on the supply side of the economy on those things that will make our nation more capable of competing, rather than giving money away in tax cuts?
§ Mr. Neil Hamilton
Does my right hon. Friend accept that sensible people look forward to further reductions in the proportion of the GDP taken by public spending, and that one of the best ways to achieve that is to carry on repaying Government debt? Can he confirm that £10 billion or £11 billion of the £17 billion a year that we pay in debt interest is on the borrowings carried out by the previous Labour Government?