Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Northern Ireland Office


  In your two letters of 5 March 2001 you raised four questions with regard to the Northern Ireland Office Spring Supplementary Estimates. I will respond in the order the questions were raised in your first letter and then finally to the query made in your second note.

  1.  The increase in the Supplementary Estimate Vote 2 DEL which covers most of the Northern Ireland Executive's financial resources must be approved by Parliament in order to be effected.

  2.  The Supplementary Estimate sought additional provision of £234,401,000 which can be broken down as follows:—

Grants to support expenditure by the NI Departments in DEL
Grants to support expenditure by the NI Departments in W2W
Grants to support expenditure by the NI Departments in AME
Grants to support expenditure by the NI Departments outside DEL

  The recently announced DEL increase was £172,993,000. The difference between this and the Supplementary Estimate for DEL (of £288.5 million) is £115.5 million. This is made up of the voted increases funded from non-voted areas, which are not reflected in Estimates, as well as savings in other votes which did not take a Supplementary.

  3.  The structure of Vote 2 reverted to one subhead because HMT determined in agreement with the NIAO that it was not practicable to exercise the level of control over expenditure implicit in a four subhead arrangement.

  4.  You sought a reconciliation between the overall DEL increase in the published Estimate (£30,627,000) with the stated DEL increase in the Secretary of State's PQ response of 15 February (£16,667,000). The difference is accounted for by the drawing down of the Department's Unallocated Provision (DUP) of £13,960,000. You will know that the DUP derives from the monies already granted in the Comprehensive Spending Review (in effect it is money we already have but draw upon only when required by way of the Supplementary Estimate process). Consequently the £16,667,000 accurately reflects the extra money required over and above that originally provided.

  The apparent difference between the Running Cost increase quoted in the PQ (£12,147,000) and the published Estimates booklet (£11,326,000) arises from the PQ figure being a gross amount (inclusive of running costs related receipts of £821,000) while the Estimates booklet always reflects the net additional amount only.

  If I can be of any further assistance please don't hesitate to ask.

6 March 2001

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