§ Mr. Whitney
I assume that the hon. Member is referring to local authority social services. The figures given in Cmnd. 9702 for spending on individual local authority services in 1986–87 are indicative. It is for local authorities themselves to decide their spending on the individual services they provide, in the light of all their local circumstances and of the Government's call for restraint in total local authority spending.
The 1986–87 indicative figure for personal social services spending in England (£2,521 million) represents a 4.3 per cent. cash increase over the local authorities' budgets in 1985–86. The implications of spending at this level for services will depend on movements in the costs facing local authorities over the coming months, in particular pay settlements for local authority employees, and on the extent to which authorities can achieve improvements in efficiency.
No decisions on provision for local authority current spending for years after 1986–87 have been taken. These will be reviewed in the public expenditure survey during 1986.
§ 28. Mr. Hicks
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the growth in real financial terms since May 1979 of expenditure on the National Health Service in England and Wales; what was the corresponding figure for the South-West regional health authority; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
Between 1978–79 and 1984–85 expenditure on the National Health Service in England and Wales grew by 21 per cent. in real terms. Within that overall total health authority expenditure grew by 17 per cent. in real terms and spending by South Western regional health authority by 19 per cent. in real terms. These figures clearly demonstrate the Government's commitment to the Health Service.