23. Mr. R. C. Mitchell
asked the Sectary of State for Education and Science what average annual increase, in cost terms, she anticipates in education spending during the period 1972–73 to 1976–77; and what was the comparable annual average increase for the period 1959–60 to 1971–72.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
The forecasts of education expenditure in Cmnd. 5178 show average annual rates of growth during308W the period 1972–73 to 1976–77 of 3.;4 per cent. in volume terms and 5.;0 per cent. in cost terms. These forecasts, governed as they are by the conventions of the Public Expenditure White Papers, are not on the same footing as figures of actual past expenditure, since those embody the outcome of policies and events for the whole period which they cover. I estimate that the average annual rate of growth over the 13 years from 1959 to 1972 was 5 per cent. in volume terms and about 6¼ per cent. in cost terms. But a single average for this long period conceals the fact that the growth rate up to 1964, in volume terms, was 5½ per cent. and that the rate fell to 4½ per cent. between 1964 and 1970, recovering sharply to over 6½ per cent. between 1970–71 and 1971–72.