Examination of Witnesses (Questions 480-482)|
13 DECEMBER 2006
Q480 Chairman: Just a last couple
of questions. The planning assumption in the Pre-Budget Report
is that public sector current expenditure will grow by 1.9% in
2009-10 and 2010-12. That is below economic growth and significantly
below previous rates of growth of public expenditure since 2000.
What impact will the expected increases in net migration levels
have on both total public expenditure and public expenditure per
Mr Brown: That is rising real
terms growth in public expenditure but, as I said earlier in answer
to a question, this is an assumption; it is not a decision. These
things are all to be looked at during the course of the spending
review and in the run-up to any announcements. As far as the pressures
on public spending are concerned, clearly you have to look at
all pressures on public spending and that is why we are conducting
what is called a zero-based review. We are looking at what the
costs of meeting our commitments to particular services are in
the context of the population of the country, the changing demographic
trends, the rising number of elderly people, the need to prepare
for the global economy. All these things are part of this very
extensive and complex review.
Q481 Chairman: My last question is
on emissions trading schemes. Under the EU ETS, while UK power
companies may have been allocated 4.6 million tonnes of carbon
less than their projected needs they have met this shortfall not
by cutting emissions but by buying up surplus, and comparatively
cheap, allowances. If the EU ETS fails what back-up does the UK
Government have in place?
Mr Brown: I think what is happening
is that people are learning the lessons of experience in the EU
ETS and that will be applied to the next round. We have already
made different dispositions for the next round than for the previous
Q482 Chairman: Chancellor, can I
thank you and your colleagues for your attendance this morning.
Mr Brown: Thank you very much,
Chairman. Best wishes for Christmas. I hope you will finish your
report by then.