Mark and Ruth look at the growing fashion for re-writing Bills mid-air as they pass through Parliament, adding on all sorts of policy bells and whistles at the last minute.
Estimates are the Government's spending plans which are presented to Parliament for approval every year. Government requests to Parliament for funds for departments are made in at least two and sometimes as many as four stages throughout the year in a process known as the 'Estimates Cycle'.
Consideration of Estimates happens at least once a year (between April and July, with respect to the Main Estimates), but more usually twice (between February-March with respect to the Supplementary Estimates). Select Committees can scrutinise each departmental Estimate, and MPs collectively debate and scrutinise them on Estimates days.
Once the Estimates have been debated, the House of Commons must consider a Supply motion. If the House approves the motion, then the Supply Resolution that results paves the way for a Supply and Appropriation Bill. Once this Bill is passed, it legally authorises the expenditure as set out in the Estimates.
Each Government department produces its own annual Estimate, and HM Treasury compiles and publishes them together in a single Estimates report for presentation to Parliament.
Treasury rules define the spending categories contained in the Estimates. Each departmental Estimate is made up of three key parts.
Each government department produces its own annual Estimate, and HM Treasury compiles and publishes them together in a single Estimates report for presentation to Parliament. Treasury rules define the spending categories contained in the Estimates. Each departmental Estimate is made up of three key parts.
These cover net spending, subject to the limits set out in the Spending Review process, in areas of activity that departments can generally forecast and over which they are therefore expected to exercise control. In each annual Estimate, the DELs are divided into two sub-categories:
Resource DEL, or current ‘day-to-day' spending: this includes, for example, costs for staff, purchasing goods and services, rents, maintenance and other administrative costs, depreciation and the sale of assets.
Capital DEL, or investment spending: this includes capital grants, loans, and the purchase, disposal or improvement of major assets.
This covers net spending in areas that are less predictable and therefore more difficult for departments to forecast and control:
Resource AME: this includes benefits, state pensions, and other welfare costs, as well as provision for liabilities.
Capital AME: this includes areas such as student loans.
Generally, departments cannot switch funds from DEL to AME, or from resource to capital spending categories, once the Estimate has been approved. However, within each category, a breakdown of proposed spending is provided, and this does not bind the government. Here, the government can vire money from one heading area to another, provided that neither the ambit nor the overall spending limit is breached.
Delegated legislation is the most common form of legislation in the United Kingdom. It is the legislation of everyday life, impacting millions of citizens daily. But the terminology and procedures that surround it are complex and often confusing. This explainer unpacks delegated legislation - the terminology and Parliament's role in scrutinising it - to reveal more about how delegated legislation really works.
What a week! Suella Braverman's sacking from Government was immediately eclipsed by the appointment of former Prime Minister David Cameron as the new Foreign Secretary. Mark and Ruth explore the many questions this raises, not least for scrutiny of foreign affairs by MPs.
The Prime Minister’s decision to cancel the next stage of HS2 has given rise to criticism that once again the Government has ridden roughshod over Parliament. Just over 1,300 hours of legislative time have been spent on four HS2-related Bills over nine Sessions in the last decade. Why has it taken so long and what now happens to that legislation?
When parliamentarians reassemble at Westminster on 7 November for the start of the new Session, all eyes will be on the legislative programme to be announced in the King’s Speech. Speculation about the likely date of the next general election is rife at Westminster, but until the date is settled there are a lot of parliamentary issues still to be tackled. We’ve picked out a few things to look out for on the political horizon.