Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by HM Treasury

RESOURCE ACCOUNTING AND BUDGETING

  I am enclosing with this letter the latest in a series of Memoranda from the Treasury designed to update Parliament on developments in implementing Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB) in central government. As on previous occasions, the Memorandum is addressed jointly to the Committee of Public Accounts, the Treasury Committee and the Procedure Committee.

  The Memorandum begins with a brief outline of developments affecting the RAB project since the last Treasury Memorandum in July 1999. It then discusses departments' recent progress in implementing RAB and the next phase of the "trigger point" strategy; outlines further progress in developing resource accounting, resource budgeting and the structure of resource-based Estimates; sets out details of the final components of a full resource-based Parliamentary Supply system, completing the picture begun in earlier Memoranda; and provides an update on the legislation needed to implement RAB and on the development of Whole of Government Accounts. The Memorandum ends with a summary of conclusions and recommendations.

  As indicated in paragraph 80 of the Memorandum, I am also forwarding to the Committee, under separate cover, 30 copies of the latest version of the Treasury publication "Resource Accounting and Budgeting: A Short Guide to the Financial Reforms", published in December 1999. This new edition of the "Short Guide" summarises the main features of the new system of planning, controlling and reporting on public spending under RAB, and updates and expands on the key principles and concepts which underpin the new regime. It also explains how RAB fits with the wider fiscal framework of the Government's economic policy.

  I should also like, in the light of some of the exchanges during the committee stage of the Government Resources and Accounts Bill, to reiterate the point made in the Chief Secretary's letter of 14 December 1999 to the Chairman of the PAC, and subsequently in the debate, that there has never been any intention on the Government's part to implement RAB fully without the agreement of the PAC and other Parliamentary Committees. Equally, the Government trusts that the Committees will recognise the need for a timely response to allow the timetable to be adhered to.

  As always, Treasury officials would be very happy to discuss any other aspect of the Memorandum, or of the RAB project more generally, if that would be helpful to the Committee.

22 January 2000


 
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