I noted with considerable interest the announcement earlier today that the annual Financial Statement and Budget Report is in future to be made to the House in the autumn of each year (as it was between 1993 and 1996).
The Budget is of course followed by debate and approval of resolutions authorising the provisional collection of taxes and of founding resolutions for the Finance Bill and, in due course, by the introduction of that Bill.
As you will know, the Procedure Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into scrutiny of the Government’s Supply Estimates, and has received substantial evidence on the present timing of the presentation of Estimates for approval in the cycle of Parliamentary approval of taxation and expenditure.
The Committee plans to report on aspects of its inquiry early in the New Year. Before it reports, the Committee would like to ascertain the implications for the Estimates timetable of the decision to switch to autumn Budgets.
We would therefore be grateful if you would arrange for a memorandum to be sent, setting out:
Given the Committee’s current schedule, it would find it helpful to receive the memorandum no later than Monday 19 December.
I am copying this letter to the Chairs of the Public Accounts Committee, the Treasury Committee and the Liaison Committee, to the Comptroller and Auditor General and to the Leader of the House.
23 November 2016
Thank you for your letter of 23 November on the potential implications for the Estimates timetable of the decision to switch to autumn budgets. I welcome the Committee’s work on the Supply Estimates procedure and am committed to ensuring Parliament is able to scrutinise government budgets effectively.
I am currently reviewing HM Treasury’s approach to spending control. The results of this review could affect Supply Estimates procedure and the setting of departmental budgets. When this work is complete, I will consider carefully any implications for the current system of Supply Estimates.
In light of this, I am not in a position to supply the memorandum as requested in your letter until we have completed this work. I do, however, look forward to receiving the report of the Committee in the New Year and considering its recommendations. By then, I expect our thinking in this area to be more developed and we will be better placed to inform and assist the Committee’s important work. I will write to you again once we are able to respond in the round to your questions about the impact of any changes on the Supply Estimates procedure.
I am copying this letter to the Chairs of the Public Accounts Committee, the Treasury Committee and the Liaison Committee, to the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Leader of the House.
11 December 2016
18 April 2017