This briefing looks at the most recent set of the Government's spending plans, the Supplementary Estimates 2018/19, and provides both a summary of their contents and context to help understand them.Jump to full report >>
One of Parliament’s longest standing functions is the consideration and authorisation of the government's spending plans, requiring the government to obtain parliamentary consent before spending public money.
A previous library briefing paper, Main estimates: Government spending plans for 2018-19, set out details of the initial spending plans of the government for the current financial year. As is usual, the government has now published its proposals to amend those plans, in the Supplementary Estimates, which require the approval of Parliament in order to come into effect.
Backbench members can submit bids to the House’s Backbench Business Committee for debates on public spending – known as Estimates day debates – on each occasion Estimates are presented to Parliament. The latest opportunity for debates, linked to the Supplementary Estimates, arises on 26 February 2019.
Spending topics selected for debate must relate to the spending included in an Estimate or Estimates. Following the debates, motions are put to the House to agree those Supplementary Estimates which form the subjects of debate, followed by a single “roll-up” motion to agree all the remaining Supplementary Estimates.
Overall, in this year’s supplementary estimates, the government proposes to increase Departmental Expenditure Limits for day-to-day spending by £16.9 billion (+5.9%), and investment spending by £2.5 billion (+4.6%), compared to the Main Estimates. However, most of this extra money has either already been announced in the Chancellor’s previous Budgets, or is taken from the Treasury Reserve. This means that most additional spending included in the Supplementary Estimates has already been factored into overall spending forecasts, even though Parliamentary approval has yet to be given.
Among notable changes proposed in the Supplementary Estimates are:
Commons Briefing papers CBP-8504
Authors: Philip Brien; Larry Honeysett