“Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.” All public spending requires parliamentary authority. By approving the Estimates laid before it Parliament, allows the Government to use resources and draw money from the Consolidated Fund. Under long-established constitutional practice it is for the Crown (the Government) to demand money, the House of Commons […]
Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.
All public spending requires parliamentary authority. By approving the Estimates laid before it Parliament, allows the Government to use resources and draw money from the Consolidated Fund.
- 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. All public spending requires parliamentary authority.
- Parliamentary control over spending is primarily exercised by the House of Commons. Parliament provides approval for spending either through authority voted annually in response to Estimates presented by the Government or through charging spending by statute directly on the Consolidated Fund, known as ‘Consolidated Fund Standing Services’, or on other Funds (such as the National Loans Fund).
- Through approval of the Estimates, Parliament gives statutory authority for both the consumption of resources and for cash to be drawn from the Consolidated Fund (the Government’s general account at the Bank of England). This process is known as “Supply procedure”.
- The Main Estimates are presented to Parliament around the start of the financial year to which they relate (they are presented within 5 weeks of the Chancellor’s Budget Statement). Departments are then able to submit Supplementary Supply Estimates – presented in June (Summer), November (Winter) and February (Spring), as necessary – to seek authority for any changes to spending plans that occur after the Main Estimates are presented.
- The Commons has the opportunity to debate the content of the Estimates during ‘Estimates Day’ debates, for which up to three days are available in each Session. Following such debates, resolutions to approve the Estimates are proposed by Treasury Ministers and voted on by the Commons. A Bill (becoming either a Consolidated Fund Act or a Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Act) to provide formal legislative authority for the spending plans is then immediately introduced and is not subject to further debate (as provided for in House of Commons Standing Orders (54-56)).
Existing legislation in this area
Estimates are presented several times a year and are followed by Supply legislation.
The Bill would apply to the United Kingdom.