§ Mr. Letwin
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of gross administrative expenditure in central government as a proportion of total managed expenditure was for(a) 1996–97 and (b)2003–04. [R] 
§ Mr. Gordon Brown
The most appropriate measure of comparison between this year and 1996–97 is for planned expenditure on central administration as a percentage of total government spending, using the measures available at the time. This yields a figure which is 4.4 per cent. for 2003–4 and falling in future years, against a planned 4.9 per cent. in 1996–97. We cannot yet compare final out-turns because figures are not yet available for this year but, based on previous years' experience, we would expect this year's out-turn to be lower than the 4.6 per cent. of total government spending out-turn figure for 1996–97.