Public Accounts Committee

Excess Votes 2017-18 inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 14 February 2019. Government response published May 2019.

Report and response published

Scope of the inquiry

The need for an Excess Vote arises when a government department or body has incurred expenditure or other use of resources upon an existing service beyond the amounts authorised for it during the financial year in question, or where there is no proper parliamentary authority for the service.

When the exact amount of the excess expenditure or other use of resources has been ascertained on the completion of the audit of the Departmental Resource Accounts, the Comptroller & Auditor General makes a report to the House. His findings come before the Committee of Public Accounts, which, after an examination of the explanation provided by the department-in-question, submits its own report to the House, setting out the reasons and stating any objections (if any) to the excess being approved.

In 2017-18 one body breached its expenditure limit: the UK Supreme Court. This inquiry therefore will call in front of the Committee the UK Supreme Court to examine why and to hear further detail on the reasons they breached their expenditure limit. Subsequent to the evidence session, we will issue a report examining the reasons that the Supreme Court exceeded its voted provisions and stating whether or not the Committee has an objection to Parliament providing the necessary amount.


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