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16 Oct 2003 : Column WA138

Public Sector: Input and Output

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 McIntosh 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.

Olympic Medallists: Drug Tests

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to make representations to the International Olympic Committee to investigate alleged cases of American Olympic medallists who have had positive drug tests but have subsequently been cleared on appeal by United States track and field officials.[HL4673]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: This is a matter entirely for sport governing bodies. Consequently we do not intend to make representations to the International Olympic Committee.



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