HMT Main Estimates
Estimates are the means of obtaining from Parliament, the legal authority to consume resources and spend cash the government needs to finance department's agreed spending programme
Under long-established constitutional practice it is for the Crown (the government) to demand money, the House of Commons to grant it and the House of Lords to assent to the grant. Estimates are the means of obtaining from Parliament the legal authority to consume resources and spend cash the government needs to finance department’s agreed spending programmes for the financial year (April to March).
Under the Clear Line of Sight reforms which came into effect from 2011-12 and align Estimates, budgets and accounts, Parliament gives statutory authority for the consumption of resources and capital and for cash to be drawn from the Consolidated Fund (the government’s general bank account at the Bank of England) by Acts of Parliament known as Supply and Appropriation Acts. This process is known as “Supply procedure”.
The Main Estimates start the supply procedure and are presented by the Treasury around the start of the financial year to which they relate. Any necessary, New, Revised and/or Supplementary Estimates, asking Parliament for approval for additional resources, capital and/or cash or for authority to incur expenditure on new services, are usually presented in February.
After the end of the financial year (in July) the Treasury presents the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses to Parliament, providing outturn figures for public expenditure by department.
- Access the Supplementary Estimates online
- Access the Statement of Excess online
- Access the Vote on Accounts online
- Read the Parliamentary Supply Estimates guidance manual
- Access all Main Estimates and accompanying documents pre 2011 online on the National Archive website.