HC Deb 20 July 1982 vol 28 cc115-6W
Mr. Joel Barnett

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Heywood and Royton on 9 July, Official Report, c. 238, as the expenditure charged to the

Contingency Reserve in 1981–82 was £1,145 million out of £2,500 million, what was the reason for a Contingency Reserve of £2,400 million in 1982–83, £4,000 million in 1983–84 and £6,000 million in 1984–85, as per table 1.9 in Cmnd. 8494–1.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

[pursuant to his reply, 19 July 1982, c. 42]: As the right hon. Member knows, the Contingency Reserve is a control figure for the year ahead to cover unforeseen requirements. It is therefore to be expected that these unforeseen demands may occasionally turn out to be somewhat less than the amount provided. The figure for 1982–83 provides a prudent margin for contingencies. For the later years, there is greater uncertainty about possible expenditure, and cash planning means that larger reserves are required to make the planning totals realistic. These figures will be reviewed in the 1982 public expenditure survey before the reserve for 1983–84 is set.