HC Deb 12 July 1976 vol 915 cc103-4W
Mr. Neubert

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the effect of the current public expenditure programme on the United Kingdom import bill; and how this compares with the previous three years.

Mr. Denzil Davies

There are no direct measures of the import content of total public expenditure. Estimates derived from the latest input-output data, which refer to 1972, do, however, suggest that approximately 9 per cent. of public authority consumption and 17 per cent. of public sector investment were met directly and indirectly from imported goods and services. These two components, however, comprise only about half of total public expenditure. Estimating the effect on the United Kingdom import bill of other expenditure—on grants to persons and companies, lending, interest payments and so on—would necessarily be more speculative.

Mrs. Castle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates would be the import saving content of £1,000 million increases in taxation on tobacco, alcohol and petrol compared with £1,000 million cuts in public ependiture, other than transfer payments.

Mr. Denzil Davies

I will let my hon. Friend have a reply as soon as possible.