HC Deb 07 June 1976 vol 912 cc546-7W
Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of gross national product the United Kingdom spent on education in 1975; and how this compares with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Eire, Japan, France, West Germany and the United States of America.

Mr. Gerry Fowler

Figures on a comparable basis for the countries mentioned are not available for 1975. The latest year for which comparable figures are available for all the countries is 1971. The figures, which are of public expenditure on education, are published in the 1974 UNESCO Statistical Yearbook and are:

Percentage of gross national product at market prices
United Kingdom 5.9
Sweden 7.9*
Norway 6.4
Denmark 7.6
Eire 5.0
Japan 4.3
France 3.5
West Germany 4.5
United States of America 6.8
* As percentage of gross domestic product at market prices.

It must be emphasised that the UNESCO definition of public expenditure differs from that used in the corresponding statistics officially compiled and published in the United Kingdom, and that the UNESCO definition of gross national product is at market prices—which includes taxes and excludes subsidies—rather than at factor cost. Moreover, since the education systems of the various countries have salient differences which can affect comparability, care should be exercised in any use made of these figures.