HL Deb 16 October 2003 vol 653 c138WA
Lord Patten

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether in relation to their increases in public expenditure on public services over recent years, they accept the conclusions of the Office for National Statistics that "using government's contribution to GDP, output growth lagged behind the increase in inputs … This suggests that, over time, resources were being used less efficiently" (Economic Trends, No. 596, July 2003, p. 27). [HL4636]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Mclntosh of Haringey)

Measuring public sector output and productivity is not straightforward, and conclusions about efficiency need to be drawn with care. As the article concerned noted, a number of factors have to be borne in mind:

spending to enhance capital stock and staff training will increase the capacity to produce more in the future, rather than having full immediate effect on output;

currently available output measures may in some cases fail to monitor all the actual outputs being produced; and

current measures frequently fail to reflect quality improvements made in outputs.

The article also stated that it is not at present possible to disentangle the separate effects of these various factors.