§ Mr. William Ross
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) further to his answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Knapman) of 9 December,Official Report, column 324, if he will now publish details of the programmes of expenditure which have been running ahead of plans in this financial year, and of those which have been behind forecast expenditures, showing in each case the subheadings and the sums involved; if he will show details of the capital works postponed and the maintenance works deferred until next year; and what is his estimate of the consequences for employment in the current and the next financial year;
(2) further to his answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Knapman) on 9 December, Official Report, column 324, when the above target expenditures which have led him to postpone expenditure on maintenance works and capital works in Northern Ireland first became known to him.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Expenditure requirements are monitored by Departments from the start of the financial year. It was the balance between new demands and savings emerging in the third quarter which led to the decision to postpone some expenditure. The situation continues to evolve and final decisions on the adjustments required will be taken in the context of spring supplementary estimates. The details will be available in the revised estimates, which cover most areas of public expenditure. These will show the main changes proposed and will be laid before the House in February. The debate on the appropriation order will provide the opportunity for discussion.
Information on individual projects affected is not centrally available but the delay in releasing new projects will be short-lived. The overall employment effects are also expected to be minimal—at most only a temporary change in the balance of activity between sectors—as the total volume of public expenditure is not being reduced.