HC Deb 12 December 1983 vol 50 cc324-7W
Mr. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about planned expenditure for the programmes for which he is responsible in 1984–85.

Mr. Younger

Total expenditure on the programmes within my responsibility for 1984–85 will be £6,859 million. That figure includes expenditure on the services within the Scottish block, expenditure on agriculture, fisheries and food, and industry, energy, trade and employment — which are not within the block — and support to certain nationalised industries. It is consistent with the figures used in the Chancellor's autumn statement of 17 November.

Taking into account the reduction in the national insurance surcharge announced in the last Budget and the decision that pay in the public sector in 1984–85 should cost no more than 3 per cent. more than this year, this figure represents a continuation of the level of cash spend shown in the last Public Expenditure White Paper, Cmnd. 8789, and is £212 million more than the amount available in the current year. It reflects the Government's general policy of keeping public expenditure within planned limits.

I have shown in the following table the allocations to each service for 1983–84 and 1984–85 as in the 1983 Public Expenditure White Paper, and the allocations I now intend to implement.

In allocating the total sum available to me, I have continued to give priority to spending on health and law and order, providing for some growth in both these services. I have also made provision, as promised, for the expenditure on home improvement and repairs grants legally committed before 20 October. The continuing overspending by local authorities on current expenditure has had to be paid for by a reduction in their captial provision.

In order to maintain the impetus of Scotland's economic progress, provision for the industry, energy, trade and employment programme has been maintained at the planned level of £169 million. The main areas of expenditure are the Government's grant-in-aid to the Scottish Development Agency and the Highlands and Islands Development Board and selective financial assistance to industry. Cash provision for each of these is increased over the current year's level but the largest increase is in provision for selective financial assistance in order to keep pace with the increased level of demand which is one indicator of the current improvement in the economy.

Provision for tourism is to be increased by £0.2 million above the previously planned level to enable the Scottish Tourist Board to finance its proposed new role in overseas promotion without diminution of its valuable existing contribution to the growing success of Scotland's tourist industry.

The provision for roads and transport will enable work to continue on those priority schemes which will assist economic development and environmental improvement, including schemes on the A1, A9, M74, A75, A929 and A94. The Government's commitment to subsidise certain shipping and civil aviation services will also be maintained.

For housing, the total net provision is £654 million of which £438 million is for capital expenditure—against a net provision last year amounting to £670 million with £421 million for capital expenditure. Taken with my estimate of sales receipts for 1984–85, gross capital spend on housing should in the year total £614 million. Within this figure resources will be concentrated on special needs housing, improvement and modernisation of the public sector stock and private sector improvement and repair grants. As a direct result of the temporary measures introduced in the Government's 1982 Budget to enhance the rates of grant, I estimate that about £200 million will have been spent on improvement and repairs before grants revert to their pre-1982 levels with effect from 1 April 1984, and I expect another £150 million or so to be spent in 1984–85, the total for the three financial years 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 being about £350 million as compared with £67 million in the preceding three financial years. In addition, I have made provision for special needs housing and dealing with major building defects in the public sector stock.

I regret the fact that this year 27 authorities have chosen to forgo £13.5 million in aggregate of the capital available to them in order to make what I consider to be excessive rate fund contributions. I am, therefore, for next year continuing the present system under which capital allocations made to local authorities are contingent upon their budgeted rate fund contributions.

My estimates of capital receipts for next year are, I believe, modest, and I am certain that if housing authorities made a determined effort they could exceed these estimates by a substantial margin, thus providing even greater resources for capital work in the housing field.

Within law, order and protective services, I intend that provision for the police service should be sufficient to meet the cost of a modest increase in numbers over the level of present authorised establishments. Provision for the prison service will allow for the number of prison officers to be increased by 160 by the end of 1984–85.

The amount allocated to education makes adequate provision for all local authority services, and in particular for the extra staff necessary for the implementation of the 14 to 16 plan developed in the light of the Munn and Dunning reports. I have also made provision to help to resolve some of the imbalances which have arisen in the age and specialism structure of the teaching staff at colleges of education.

I intend to provide about £106 million more for health in Scotland next year than we expect to spend on the programme this year. The additional resources will provide for expansion of about 1 per cent. in hospital and community health services to meet growing demands from population change and other factors and will make possible further progress in the equalisation of resources between health boards under the SHARE formula. The provision will also allow some expansion of the capital programme over this year's level, and will cover expected growth in demand for family practitioner services. I have also provided for a substantial increase in relevant expenditure on social work which takes account of the costs to local authorities of implementing recent legislation.

As well as making these allocations to programmes I have also compeleted my consultations with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities about the rate support grant settlement. The rate support grant order and report will be laid before the House shortly. It provides for a total relevant expenditure figure of £3,205.9 million and aggregate grants of £1,930 million. Provision for current expenditure within the total is £2,736.6 million, slightly above the provisional figure which I announced on 27 July reflecting mainly technical adjustments. Within the rate support grant order and report provision will be made for the distribution of the needs element of rate support grant on a new basis derived from client group assessments of relative expenditure need.

These decisions reflect the Government's determination to keep public expenditure on course, coupled with a recognition that within that overriding concern there has to be a degree of flexibility in allocating scarce resources to individual services. The Scottish block arrangements have again enabled me to exercise that flexibility according to the Government's stated priorities taking due account of Scotland's particular needs and circumstances.

£ million
1983–84 1984–85 1984–85
White Paper (Cmnd. 8789) with Budget and other pre-Survey changes Revised*
Agriculture, fisheries and food† 165 175 186
Industry, energy, trade and employment 163 169 169
Tourism 11 11 11
Transport 468 492 483
Housing 670 657 654
Other environmental services 544 558 541
Law, order and protective services 450 483 489
Education 1,553 1,571 1,615
Arts and Libraries 54 54 59
Health and social work 2,030 2,139 2,166
Other public services 98 99 102
Common services 1 1 1
Nationalised Industries 321 348 309
Local authority current expenditure not allocated 120 75 75
6,647 6,832 6,859


Owing to rounding individual figures may not sum to totals.

* Some figures may be subject to detailed technical amendment before publication of the 1984 public Expenditure White Paper.

†Treated on GB basis in Autumn Statement.

Forward to