HC Deb 18 January 1982 vol 16 cc87-8W
Mr. Shersby

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the volume of Government spending on gross domestic fixed capital formation since 1970; and if he is satisfied that it is now adequate to meet the needs of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Brittan

The Government now plan in cash. However, public sector expenditure on gross domestic fixed capital formation is shown in constant prices for each year from 1970 to 1980 in table 10.2 of the 1981 edition of "National Income and Expenditure". Estimates in constant prices for the financial years 1975–76 to 1981–82 were published in tables 1.8 and 3.2 of the public expenditure White Paper of March 1981, Cmnd. 8175.

As the Government said in the last White Paper, past higher levels of capital spending are no longer sustainable in the changed circumstances which now exist, in terms of both the finance available and the needs of expenditure programmes. Moreover, it does not follow that all items of expenditure which are conventionally classified as capital necessarily represent productive investment—I commend to my hon. Friend the article on this subject in the "Economic Progress" report of July 1981.