§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate, following the adjustments he announced on 21st May, of the percentage growth in public expenditure at 1972 prices in the current financial year and in 1974–75, respectively.
§ Mr. Higgins
Total public expenditure in 1972–73 is now believed to have been about £300 million lower than the estimate in last December's White Paper—Cmnd. 5178. Since expenditure in 1973–74 is also now expected to be some £300 million lower, it follows that the increase between the two years is still expected to be just over 5 per cent.
Taken in isolation, the lower figure for 1973–74 and the cuts of £500 million in 1974–75 would produce a lower increase between those two years than the 1.7 per cent. given in Cmnd. 5178; but this would be to ignore possible estimating changes in the 1974–75 figure. It would not be appropriate to give a revised figure for 1974–75 at the present point of time when, in accordance with normal practice, the detailed annual re-costing of individual programmes is in progress.