HC Deb 09 November 1978 vol 957 cc342-3W
Mr. Ralph Howell

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing for each year since 1963 the number of people employed in the personal social services, and total expenditure on personal social services both at current and at 1978 prices.

Mr. Moyle

Available staff and expenditure figures for the personal social services for years prior to the reorganisation of those services under the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 are not comparable with figures for subsequent years. The table below sets out the information requested from 1971–72. Expenditure figures are given at November 1977 prices; figures at November 1978 prices are not yet available.

United Kingdom took the following proportions of the gross domestic product—GDP—at factor cost, in the years 1970 to 1977:

Percentage of GDP
1970 4.7
1971 4.7
1972 4.8
1973 4.7
1974 5.3
1975 5.7
1976 5.7
1977 5.6

Expenditure on health matters is not recorded on a strictly comparable basis in the national accounts of other countries and definitions of "health matters" vary considerably. There are, therefore, serious difficulties in expressing such expenditure as a proportion of GDP in order to allow meaningful comparisons between countries. However the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development —OECD—recently produced a comparison of the percentages of "trend" GDP—that is the GDP figure adjusted to avoid the influence of business fluctuations—at market prices spent in total on health provision in several countries in or around 1974. The percentages are for current expenditure only and as such they are not on the same basis as the United Kingdom only figures shown above.

Australia (1974–75) 6.1
Austria (1973) 5.3
Belgium 4.9
Canada (1973) 6.8
Finland (1975) 5.8
France 6.9
Germany 6.7
Ireland 6.9
Italy 5.7
Japan 3.8
Netherlands (1972) 7.3
New Zealand (FY 1973–74) 5.5
Spain 5.6
Sweden 7.3
Switzerland (1973) 5.0
United Kingdom (1975) 5.2
United States 7.4