§ Mr. Lawson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to the written answer to the hon. Member for Blaby on 29 January concerning the relative price effect, and not the retail price effect, imported into the original question by a printer's error, if he will now state what the numerical value of the trend effect of the relative price effect on the rate of growth of total public expenditure is currently reckoned to be; and whether that trend effect is positive or negative.
§ Mr. Joel Barnett
As I said in my earlier reply, short-term effects predominate over any underlying trend. For this reason a trend value cannot be satisfactorily identified.
I naturally understand that the hon. Member could not conceivably have made an error in referring to the "relative price effect"!