HC Deb 26 February 1958 vol 583 cc50-1W
Sir A. Bossom

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that, in future, Government Departments make a thorough double reconsideration of their annual requests for appropriations before sending them to the Treasury to avoid the large number of Supplementary Estimates which have now become regular.

Mr. Simon

Departments are instructed to take all practicable measures to ensure that their Estimates are as accurate as possible, and I am satisfied that they do so. It must be remembered that Estimates are submitted to the Treasury sixteen months before the end of the period to which they relate, and it is impossible to forecast accurately all eventualities so far ahead; and also that the purpose of many Supplementary Estimates is not so much to obtain sanction for additional expenditure as to seek Parliamentary authority for savings on some items to be offset against excesses on others. But I fully share my hon. Friend's desire to see in future years a substantial reduction in the total amount of Supplementary Estimates.