Select Committee on Procedure Sixth Report




The Estimates and other Documents

22. The difficulties we identify could be avoided if procedure did not rest so firmly on the Estimates themselves; and twice in the last Parliament the Select Committee on Procedure recommended that the House should not restrict itself to debate on the Estimates alone.[22] At present, Departments lay two major types of financial documents; there are the Estimates, which are formally considered and voted by the House; in addition, there are the departmental annual reports, which both summarise departments' activities over the previous year and set out future plans. Almost all departmental select committees conduct some inquiry into the annual report of "their" department, even though the document is never formally considered by the House;[23] it is more informative than the Estimates and offers some indication of a department's future plans. Committees may indeed attempt to influence the plans set out in the reports.

23. Even now, it is nonsensical for the House to concentrate on the Estimates alone rather than take the departmental reports into consideration. This was recognised by our predecessors in 1994, when the then Procedure Committee recommended that Estimates Days be devoted to select committee reports on the expenditure plans for Government departments.[24] As a result of resource accounting and budgeting, there will now be three documents relating to each department:

      (i)  the Estimates proper to be voted by the House, which will be in summary form;

      (ii)  a departmental plan, to be laid at the same time as the summary Estimates, which will contain a detailed breakdown of the Estimate but will also contain material relating to longer term plans;[25] and

      (iii)  a departmental report which will be focussed on the previous year.[26]

It will be still more bizarre for the House to ignore the financial documents which will support the resource based Estimates, since they will give far more detail of the Government's plans than the Estimates themselves.

24. Not only are the plans intrinsically likely to be of more interest than the Estimates proper, since they will contain more information, related to a longer period, the introduction of Departmental Expenditure Limits (DELs) may well encourage greater scrutiny of departments' forward plans, since the DELs will be set on a triennial basis, rather than being effectively re-opened with the spending round each year. The Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, Mr David Davis, pointed out that the introduction of three year spending limits did not necessarily mean that there would be no change in plans from one year to the next:

    "When I was in business we used to have five year plans but we still had an annual budget ... fought over tooth and nail every year, .... and I do not see any difference here. Secondly, frankly, if somebody tries to set a three year budget for a £200 billion a year budget and expects to get that right for every one of the three years, well, they are in cloud cuckoo land".[27]

Even so, the changes should mean that years two and three of the financial plan will be more solidly based than before, and deviations from it of greater interest.

Forms of Motion

25. Rather than tie itself to debating motions which are, by their nature, unlikely to succeed, and which will, in future, be based on summary documents, the House should ensure it is procedurally possible for debates on expenditure to be made on motions which address long term plans, and relate to documents which present such plans in detail. Accordingly, we consider that there should no longer be a requirement that motions on days set aside for the consideration of expenditure plans be linked to the Estimates themselves. Instead, the select committee seeking the debate should be free to propose a motion to the Liaison Committee, which would determine which motions should be tabled. Many of these motions might refer to Departmental plans or reports, rather than the Estimates themselves.

26. The Leader of the House warned of the unexpected effects changes in resources in one area could have elsewhere in a department's programme.[28] Directing motions at future expenditure gives departments time to make any necessary adjustments as sensibly as possible or even to convince the committee concerned that its proposals are not feasible. It should reduce confrontation and increase dialogue.

27. In 1993 the then Procedure Committee recommended a relaxation of the principle that Members should not be able to put forward proposals, even in the form of an expression of opinion, for increased taxation or expenditure.[29] Although this recommendation was rejected, we agree with our predecessors, at least as far as proposals relating to expenditure are concerned. The principle of the financial initiative of the Crown rightly precludes motions recommending increases to the Estimates themselves. However, we consider that when motions are directed to future plans, motions recommending that 'in the opinion of the House' increases in expenditure or transfers between certain budgets are desirable, should be permissible.

28. We consider a wide range of motions would be acceptable, for example:

  • That this House approves the spending plans of the [Department] for the period .... to ..... ;

  • That, in the opinion of this House, the financial plans of the [Department] should be amended by the transfer, in year 2, of £ xxx Resources from roads to railways;

  • That this House notes the increase/reduction in resources allocated to ... between financial year 1999-2000 and financial year 2001-2002 and recommends that spending on ... be returned to the current level by .....;

  • That this House considers the objectives set out in the departmental plan for ... should be amended as follows ... :

In some circumstances, a return to current procedure might be appropriate, and the House might consider a motion that a particular Estimate be granted (to be moved by the appropriate Minister), together with, if a committee desired, an associated motion to reduce. We anticipate that this would be rare, but there could be cases when a select committee had entered upon lengthy and fruitless dialogue with a department and wished to show the significance it attached to the matter concerned.

29. It should be noted that this list is not intended to be exhaustive; the precise form of motion would depend on the concerns of the select committee whose report was chosen for debate. We re-iterate that committees should not be expected to translate resources to cash terms or vice versa in tabling either free-standing motions relating to expenditure plans or motions to reduce.[30]

Role of the Liaison Committee

30. The allocation of debates on "Estimates Days" should remain with the Liaison Committee, but in choosing committee reports for debate on Estimates Days, or days substituted for Estimates Days, the Liaison Committee should give preference to reports on financial matters. As the Clerk of the House said:

The Liaison Committee may wish to consider using its discretion over the number of debates to schedule for a particular day. Some committee chairmen believed that a series of one and a half hour debates might be more suitable than two three hour set piece debates.[32]

31. We agree with the Clerk that in making its choice of report and motion the Liaison Committee "should have regard to an order of priority of select committee reports, which depends on the degree to which they affect government financial proposals. It would not be essential to set out the full details in the Standing Order: much might be left to the discretion of the Liaison Committee within the overall framework".[33]

32. We would place one restriction on the Liaison Committee's discretion. In the recent past, there have been a number of Sessions in which fewer than three days were appointed for consideration of the Estimates. In this Session and the last, an Estimates Day has been "swapped", with the Liaison Committee's agreement, for a day's debate on the adjournment, on which select committee reports were discussed. We recommend that "Estimates Days" should never be used for or substituted by debates on the adjournment. Our aim is to make debates, and possibly votes, on substantive motions on the Government's financial plans part of the normal working of the House, not a matter of confidence. The more often such debates are held, the more likely is this to be achieved.

Time for Debates

33. The change from "consideration of the Estimates" to consideration of the Government's expenditure plans more generally should not lead to a reduction in the time available for the debate on such plans. In its Report on Sittings of the House in Westminster Hall, the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons noted that Estimates Days would remain on the floor of the House.[34] It is important to emphasise the significance of the House's role in granting Supply, and considering expenditure, and the Estimates Days serve this purpose. We recommend that there should continue to be three days on the floor of the House allotted for debate on expenditure, linked to a committee report. If the House wished, such days could retain the title of 'Estimates Days', even though the range of motions available for debate on such days would be considerably widened. Alternatively, as our predecessors noted, they could be termed 'Expenditure Days'.[35]

34. At present, Estimates Days debates are spread through the year; they frequently take place in November/December, March and June/July. The Leader of the House emphasised the difficulties which could be caused by "bunching" debates at particular times of the year,[36] but this timetable has meant that there has been only one opportunity to consider a department's main financial plans. Instead, debate has often been linked to Supplementary Estimates and a committee's ability to secure a debate on a report has depended on whether or not "its" department has needed a Supplementary Estimate.

35. Although we appreciate that bunching debates presents problems to the Government, we would wish at least one, and preferably two, Estimates Days to be held in June or July. At this stage Departments' spending plans would be available and committees would have had the opportunity to consider them, but it would be early enough in the planning cycle for future years for committees to intervene effectively. However, since we consider that the focus should be on the Estimates and a department's other financial documents, we see no need to link debate quite as closely to the voting of Estimates as heretofore. A debate on a department's financial plans for future years could appropriately take place at a later date than the relevant vote on the Estimate. This could mean the Government and Liaison Committee would have more freedom in scheduling debates on financial matters at times of the year other than June and July.

36. Standing Order No. 55 requires seven clear days between presentation and approval of Supplementary Estimates. Although the Government usually ensures more notice than this, and select committees are sent Estimates in proof a few days before they are laid, there is little time for a committee to conduct an inquiry. If there is no report specifically concerned with a particular Supplementary Estimate, it is artificial to be forced to use that Estimate as a peg for debate on a separate matter, such as a departmental plan. If a committee produced a critical report on a Supplementary Estimate, we would expect that Estimate to be formally considered if the committee wished and the Liaison Committee agreed, although the Liaison Committee could decide half a day's debate would be adequate. In other cases, we do not see why debates on financial plans should necessarily be linked to the approval of Supplementary Estimates.

37. The Standing Order provides for three full day debates, one of which may be taken as two half days. We believe there should be more flexibility and we recommend that it should be possible to take at least two of the days allotted to examination of the Estimates and associated financial documents as half days.

38. This Report deals with select committees' work in considering the Government's expenditure plans; this is, of course, only part of their task. Our proposals depend on time being available to hold debates on select committee reports dealing with policy issues. The introduction of Wednesday morning sittings devoted to select committee debates means that, even now, twice as much time is available to select committees as was the case four years ago. If the introduction of sittings in Westminster Hall is a success, there should be still greater opportunity for debates on select committee reports. If, however, sittings in Westminster Hall do not prove permanent, it may be necessary to consider altering the balance of time on the floor of the House in order to give more time to select committee reports on policy issues. In such circumstances, we hope the Government would be able to find more time for select committee debates, but we might also contemplate a reduction in the time devoted explicitly to consideration of expenditure.

Timing of votes

39. We recommend one further reform. At present, when Estimates are considered under Standing Order No. 54, votes are deferred until ten o'clock, whatever time the debate on the Estimates set down for consideration may end. We consider that votes should be taken immediately after the conclusion of debate on the relevant Estimate or motion related to a department's financial plans. If there are grounds for a debate on the Government's expenditure plans, the House should not be expected to grant the billions the Government needs as a formality, tacked on some time later.

40. There is one exception to this; the Estimates which are voted forthwith at ten o'clock under Standing Order No. 55. If our proposal that there should be more debate on departmental plans is accepted, it may become more common for these to be taken after business which is completely unrelated to expenditure. Estimates which are not to be debated, either alone, or in relation to the departmental plans which accompany them, may continue to be voted at ten o'clock. If the Estimates are not contentious enough to provoke a select committee report or motion then Members should know precisely when they are to be taken.


Referral of Financial Documents to Committees

41. We believe the changes in procedure on the floor of the House that we propose would in themselves represent a dramatic increase in the House's ability to scrutinise expenditure plans effectively. However, improved procedures on the floor of the House should be matched by an increased emphasis on the important role select committees play in monitoring expenditure. To this end, we explored whether the Main Estimates and the plans associated with them should formally be referred to select committees for examination before they were approved, with some mechanism to ensure that the voting of the Estimates could not be delayed by select committee inactivity.

42. Some select committee chairmen strongly supported such a change; as the Defence Committee said:

Mr Robert Sheldon, the Chairman of the Liaison Committee, who has in the past chaired the Committee of Public Accounts, said "I have always argued that Departmental select committees should examine their departmental Estimates and comment upon them. I have frequently pointed out that even a 'nil' return would be preferable to ignoring such a crucial aspect of the Departments they are involved with".[38] Mr Peter Luff, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, asserted "I cannot see how a committee could really return a nil return and maintain its credibility".[39]

43. Others countered that it was artificial to link financial scrutiny to the Estimates; many select committee reports covered both expenditure and policy.[40] The Clerk of the Trade and Industry Committee suggested formal referral of the Estimates would, at best, result in the "repackaging" of inquiries which the committee would have undertaken in any event.[41] Moreover, many respondents stressed the need for select committees to be able to set their own agenda, and were concerned that such a change could prejudice this, particularly since a number of recent changes had already imposed tasks on particular committees, or appeared likely to do so.[42]

44. Some of the select committee chairmen who sent evidence suggested that increased examination of the Estimates or plans would not produce much of value. Mr Martin O'Neill, Chairman of the Trade and Industry Committee said:

    "'Examination' of departmental expenditure plans, in whatever document or form they are contained, is not an end in itself, but a process presumably intended to produce results of some sort. These could range from, at one end of the spectrum, a radical critique of the insufficiency of the totality of funds available, to the detailed examination of a relatively small project or individual line-item at the other end. The fact that the House itself, let alone committees, is unable to increase expenditure is a major disincentive to any detailed scrutiny".[43]

Others pointed out that policy and expenditure are linked, and reports on policy may have expenditure implications; it is artificial to demand that select committees focus some of their work solely on expenditure.[44]

45. We have considered the arguments against referring Estimates to committees carefully, and have sympathy with them. We agree that, taken with other recent developments, each commendable in itself, such as the referral of draft bills to committees, it may reduce committees' autonomy. Nonetheless, given that, almost without exception, committees do in fact undertake some examination of their department's annual report, we do not believe that a formal referral of Estimates to committees would present them with too great a burden. We believe that departmental select committees should, once a year, look closely at the expenditure incurred by their department, whether the result of that examination is radical critique or detailed examination of a small project. The introduction of resource accounting and budgeting should increase the information available to Parliament; committees must ensure that they make use of this information. If committees fail to examine expenditure plans, they risk losing the benefits that resource accounting and budgeting should bring. Examination of the totality of a department's spending plans will present a committee with a broad view of the department's priorities and the allocation of resources between them.[45] The Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts drew on his ministerial experience to suggest that the balance of resources within a department was often under-examined, even within government.[46] A previous committee remarked it is more interesting to decide what to buy than to write the cheque[47]; under our proposals, committees would, at least once a year, examine the bank statement.

46. We consider that automatic referral of spending plans would not only emphasise the importance of this part of a committee's work, but reinforce the broader principle of the House's control over supply. It is, however, unreasonable to require Members to concentrate on Estimates alone. The whole range of financial information presented to the House is surely relevant. We propose that a Standing Order should provide that, when laid, the Main Estimates should automatically be referred to the relevant select committee, together with the relevant departmental plan and, later in the year, the departmental report. There are cases in which the work of a department falls between two select committees, such as the division of the Department of Trade and Industry between the Trade and Industry Committee and the Science and Technology Committee; in such cases, the documents should be referred to all relevant committees which will be able to determine between themselves how the responsibility for scrutiny should be divided.

47. There is no point in referring the Estimates if committees are not required to report back to the House, however briefly. We recommend that committees should, at the minimum, produce a short report to the effect that "the Committee has examined the Departmental plans and the Estimates and has no comment to make". We emphasise that such a report should not be taken as a "clean bill of health" or an indication that the Estimates or plans are without error. If the combined efforts of a department's finance section and the Treasury cannot detect errors or omissions before Estimates or plans are presented, it is unreasonable to expect the House to do so. A simple report that a committee had considered "the Estimates" would mean no more, or less, than what it said. It should not be taken as a complete endorsement of the Government's plans; merely an indication that they contained nothing so striking that the committee felt compelled to report at that stage. In practice, given the work already undertaken, we expect that in most cases a committee would have some comment to offer.

48. If the Estimates and associated documents are automatically referred, the Government should be under an obligation to wait for a committee's report before the Estimates are voted. However, there should be some time limit set on this process, to ensure that select committees do not have the power to delay the grant of Supply simply by failing to report. The Estimates cycle is, except when elections intervene, a regular one, and committees should be able to take into account the need to examine financial plans when they are drawing up their programmes. A time limit of sixty days has worked well for the Deregulation Committee; we recommend its use here. The sixty days should run continuously, without interruption by adjournments.[48] The adjournments most likely to disrupt the process are those at Easter or Whit, which we believe are brief enough to be accommodated. We recommend that, to ensure that the Government can be confident that the financial cycle will not be delayed by committees' dilatoriness, Standing Orders should provide that the committee concerned should report within sixty days of the documents being referred.

    49. The Leader of the House warned:

    "The Government has some concerns about changing the arrangements which currently exist. Whilst the main Estimates are normally presented at a time of year when the House sits for most weeks, this is not always the case. The committee is asked to recommend a fall-back mechanism in cases where the House was due to be adjourned for longer than normal or Parliament was likely to be dissolved for an election. In these circumstances any Government would want to be able to seek the House's agreement to the Estimates in a shorter timescale."[49]

It is common for Standing Orders to be disapplied if a general election is imminent and we see no reason why such circumstances cannot be dealt with by a simple Business of the House motion. This would be nothing new; such a Business of the House motion was, after all, required to allow the House to deal with the Estimates before the last general election.[50]

50. We do not recommend referral of any Supplementary Estimates to committees, beyond the automatic provision of such supplementaries in proof to the appropriate select committee as early as is possible. While there are several months between presentation and voting of the main Estimates, during which committees can make inquiries about the expenditure proposed, there is far less time available for the consideration of supplementaries. Moreover, committees cannot easily set aside resources to deal with supplementaries, since it is impossible to predict whether, or when, an individual department might need them. However, the Treasury has told us that the rules for Resource Accounting and Budgeting will provide for Supplementary Estimates to contain explanatory notes explaining why the department concerned has needed to change its expenditure plans.[51] We regard this as vital, if committees are properly to consider the Supplementary Estimates. We consider that such explanations should be given to the relevant committees as early in the process as possible and, at the latest, at the same time as the proof of the Estimate concerned.

Resources for Committees

51. If committees are expected to undertake new tasks, we must consider whether they are adequately resourced for them. Although we are confident that resource accounting and budgeting, the three year settlements and the new departmental plans have the potential to be useful tools for select committees, help may be needed if the best use is to be made of them. Mr Bruce George pointed out the disparity between the resources available to committees and those available to the government.[52] Mr Davis maintained that "we have probably the least well resourced committees in the democratic world"[53] and thought that committees would need "the ability to evaluate detailed policy in terms of the effect of an additional or reduced spend" and "the ability to understand the accounts presented before it both in terms of the Estimates forward and the appropriation accounts backwards".[54] Other witnesses expressed concern that there was a danger committees could become too staff driven.[55]

52. We consider that some extra resources, in the form of high quality and well qualified staff, will be needed if committees are to be expected to undertake more work on the Government's financial plans. In principle, each committee could appoint Specialist Advisers to examine the financial material available. We would not wish to prevent any committee from doing so. But this would not be enough. The Estimates cover the whole of Government expenditure, department by department, and, as many of our witnesses asserted, there is a need for some overview.[56] Moreover, committees may find themselves without a Specialist Adviser with the relevant expertise at the right time; this is particularly likely in the case of Supplementary Estimates which will need to be considered quickly. A small corps of staff, available to all committees, would ensure committees had ready access to the expertise they need.

53. It would be possible to appoint "Estimates advisers" either as a free standing unit, as Mr George recommended,[57] or as a small group attached to the Treasury Committee but available to all committees. Either of these courses has its attractions. A small group attached to the Treasury Committee would be well placed to identify trans-departmental issues which the Treasury Committee itself might wish to explore. Moreover, work on the Estimates is essentially cyclical, and at periods when there was little scrutiny of the Estimates to be undertaken, it would be easy to use the group's expertise for the Treasury Committee itself. There is, however, a danger that such a group would be so closely identified with the Treasury Committee that other committees might be inhibited from seeking its advice. A free-standing unit would be clearly responsive to all committees, but there is a danger that it could become isolated and, at times when no Estimates were before the House, underdeployed. The best solution could well be to have a panel of experts available to the House for the period when the Estimates were under consideration; failing this, we believe that the precise nature of the group is best left to the authorities of the House to determine. What is important is that the necessary expertise should be provided. Whether the House chooses to have a specialist panel of advisers on call, a free standing "Estimates Office", or to give extra responsibility to the Treasury Committee, we note that the Comptroller and Auditor General has indicated he would be happy to second NAO staff to the House to assist in the examination of the Estimates.[58] We consider that such staff would be excellently qualified to provide the House with the expertise required.

54. Such a group should be pro-active in examining the Estimates and in producing briefing for each committee; the question then arises of the use a committee might make of the briefing. We stress that this is entirely in committees' own hands. The point is to provide more assistance, not to lock committees into an entirely staff-driven process. It would, of course, be open to a committee to request that the Estimates group undertake further work on the committee's behalf. It would equally be open to a committee to decide that it required no further briefing on financial plans, or to direct its own staff to build on the Estimates group's work, and continue a "financial" inquiry. Some committee members might feel that they themselves would benefit from training to enable them to assess the information they were given. We understand that some training for select committee staff has already been undertaken, and that the Treasury is willing to assist committees through informal briefings. The fact that resource accounts are based on commercial principles should mean that many of those with a commercial background will find them more easily understandable. However, if Members wish to have more formal training, the House's Estimates advisers would be well placed to give it.

55. A group of staff available to examine the Estimates on behalf of all committees would avoid a potential vicious circle. A committee's staff resources, both in committee specialists and in specialist advisers, are rightly driven by that committee's interests. However, a committee which gave a low priority to financial matters would not necessarily equip itself with the expertise required to draw the utmost from the financial information available, and financial matters would remain low on its agenda, since nothing of interest was drawn from them. A centralised unit, able to draw matters of interest to committees' attention, could go some way to preventing such a vicious circle. There might be years in which a committee would do little or nothing on the Estimates or financial plans since none of the matters drawn to their attention appeared significant. Other committees might spend the same amount of time on the department's financial plans as at present, but find their inquiries better focussed. Others might find major inquiries grew from points raised on a department's financial plans.

Form of Financial Documents

56. As we have noted, new forms of financial documents are to be laid before the House. We have recommended new procedures which will use a wide variety of the financial documents to be laid before the House. The Treasury has long involved the House in its plans for resource accounting and budgeting and departments now are actively consulting select committees about the form of the resource Estimates;[59] consultation on the new plans and reports appears less advanced. If the departmental plan becomes an informative document describing the uses which will be made of the money sought in the Estimate, and if the information it contains remains consistent year on year, it will fulfill the purpose envisaged for the departmental report when the Estimates were simplified. We welcome the fact that the departmental plan will include the detailed Resource Estimate for the forthcoming year and will set out the department's plans in the context of comparative data for the current year. This close association of plan and Estimate should be helpful.

57. However, the experience of the simplified Estimates and the introduction of departmental reports has shown that changes to documentation can have unexpected procedural side effects. Committees must be vigilant to ensure that the Government, in reforming financial documents, presents what the House requires, rather than a department's view of what the House should have. Just as the departmental reports were improved after their introduction, departments and committees may need to work together for an extended period to develop the plans into documents which serve the needs of both parties. At this stage, committees are certainly taking an active interest in the development of financial documents. We understand the Liaison Committee is taking a lead in this work, and the Treasury Committee, of course, has historically played a significant role in considering the financial information available to the House. A specialist adviser has been appointed who is available to all committees to assist their consideration of the plans for the format to be used in the new Estimates and associated documents. We recommend that the House should be robust in ensuring that the new forms for the Estimates, and associated financial documents, meet its needs.

22  Second Report from the Select Committee on Procedure, Session 1992-93, Budgetary Reform, HC727, paragraph 115; Eighth Report from the Select Committee on Procedure, Session 1994-95, Sitting Hours Reform, HC491, paragraphs 35-36. Back

23  A committee might not undertake such an inquiry every year, but it is a regular part on the committee cycle. Often committees will take oral or written evidence without making a report. Back

24  HC(1994-95)491, paragraph 38. Back

25  Evidence, p 62. Back

26  See Eight Special Report from the Treasury Committee, Session 1997-98, HC855, p xxii. Back

27  Q 23. Back

28  QQ 12-13. Back

29  Second Report of Session 1992-93, Budgetary Reform, HC727, paragraph 82. Back

30  See HC(1997-98)438, paragraph 270. Back

31  Evidence, p 35. Back

32  Evidence, p 10; QQ 45 and 49. Back

33  Evidence, p 35 Back

34  Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, HC(1998-99)194, paragraph 29. Back

35  HC(1992-93)727, paragraph 113. Back

36  Q 141. Back

37  Evidence, p 2. Back

38  Evidence, p 49. Back

39  Q 27. Back

40  Evidence, p 51. Back

41  Q 48. Back

42  For example, Members of departmental committees have considered draft Bills; the European Scrutiny Committee now has power to seek other committees' opinions on particular documents within a specified time and the Treasury Committee has the Code for Fiscal Stability referred to it under the Finance Act 1997. See Evidence pp 50, 51, 53. Back

43  Evidence, p 49. Back

44  Evidence, pp 49, 51. Back

45  See Evidence, p 53. Back

46  Q 20 Back

47  HC(1992-93)727, paragraph 112. Back

48  Since Estimates are House of Commons papers, and can only be laid when the House is sitting, the sixty day period can never begin in an Adjournment. Back

49  Evidence, p 3. Back

50  CJ(1996-97)321. Back

51  Evidence, p 75. Back

52  Q 9. See also First Special Report from the Defence Committee, Annual Report of the Committee for Session 1997-98, HC(1997-98)273, which sets the annual cost of that Committee at around £300,000-around 0.000014% of the annual defence budget (paragraph 63). Back

53  Q 20. Back

54  Q 20. Back

55  Evidence, pp 52, 53, 54 but see Evidence, p 10. Back

56  QQ 8-9, Evidence, pp 2, 50.  Back

57  Evidence, pp 2, 9. Back

58  Evidence, p 94. See also Q 8. Back

59  Evidence, p 69. Back

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