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Session 1999-2000
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Government Resources and Accounts Bill
 
 

 
 
A

B I L L

TO

Make provision about government resources and accounts; to provide for financial assistance for a body established to participate in public-private partnerships; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
 

 
Supply
Application of sums issued.     1. - (1) Where a Consolidated Fund Act or Appropriation Act authorises a sum to be-
 
 
    (a) issued out of the Consolidated Fund, and
 
    (b) applied to the service of a specified year,
  every sum issued in pursuance of the Act shall be applied towards the service of that year.
 
      (2) Section 2(1) of the Public Accounts and Charges Act 1891 (issues from Exchequer) shall cease to have effect.
 
Appropriation in aid.     2. - (1) The Treasury may, subject to any relevant limit set by an Appropriation Act, direct that resources may be applied as an appropriation in aid of resources authorised by Parliament to be used for the service of a particular year.
 
      (2) A direction under subsection (1) shall be-
 
 
    (a) made by minute, and
 
    (b) laid before Parliament.
      (3) Subsections (4) and (5) apply where money is received in connection with an appropriation in aid which has been or is expected to be directed under subsection (1).
 
      (4) Where the money is received in the year for the service of which the appropriation in aid is authorised-
 
 
    (a) the appropriation in aid is authority for the money to be used in accordance with the Treasury's direction, and
 
    (b) in so far as it is not used for that purpose it shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
      (5) Where the money is received in a year other than that for the service of which the appropriation in aid is or is to be authorised, it shall be-
 
 
    (a) retained and applied as a use of resources authorised by Appropriation Act for the service of the year in which the money is received, or
 
    (b) paid into the Consolidated Fund.
      (6) Section 2(2) and (3) of the Public Accounts and Charges Act 1891 (appropriation in aid) shall cease to have effect.
 
 
Government funds and accounts
Payments out.     3. - (1) Subsection (2) applies to a requisition or order under-
 
 
    (a) section 13 or 15 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866 (payments out of the Consolidated Fund), or
 
    (b) section 1(3) of the National Loans Act 1968 (payments out of the National Loans Fund).
      (2) A requisition or order to which this subsection applies-
 
 
    (a) may be produced, authenticated and transmitted in any manner which the Treasury, with the approval of the Comptroller and Auditor General, decide to adopt, but
 
    (b) shall be accompanied by evidence of the approval of two officers of the Treasury appointed for that purpose.
      (3) A request or order under section 20 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866 (government stock and annuities) may be produced, authenticated and transmitted in any manner which the Treasury decide to adopt.
 
      (4) Section 56 of the Finance Act 1975 (signature of requisitions and requests) shall cease to have effect.
 
Payments in by error.     4. - (1) This section applies where money is paid into the Consolidated Fund as the result of an error.
 
      (2) The Treasury may direct that all or part of the money be refunded to the department or body by whom the payment was made.
 
      (3) Section 15 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866 (credits) shall apply in relation to sums authorised to be refunded under this section.
 
 
Departmental accounts
Resource accounts: preparation.     5. - (1) A government department for which an estimate is approved by the House of Commons in respect of a financial year shall prepare accounts (to be known as resource accounts) for that year detailing-
 
 
    (a) resources acquired, held or disposed of by the department during the year, and
 
    (b) the use by the department of resources during the year.
      (2) Resource accounts shall be prepared in accordance with directions issued by the Treasury.
 
      (3) The Treasury shall exercise the power to issue directions under subsection (2) with a view to ensuring that resource accounts-
 
 
    (a) present a true and fair view,
 
    (b) conform to generally accepted accounting practice subject to such adaptations as are necessary in the context of departmental accounts, and
 
    (c) accord with guidance issued by the Treasury about the inclusion of an explanation of the difference between an item appearing in a department's estimate and a corresponding item appearing in or reflected in the department's resource accounts.
      (4) A department which prepares resource accounts shall send them to the Comptroller and Auditor General not later than 30th November of the financial year following that to which the accounts relate.
 
      (5) The Treasury shall, in the case of each department which is obliged to prepare accounts in accordance with subsection (1), appoint an official of the department as its accounting officer.
 
      (6) While a person holds appointment as a department's accounting officer he shall be responsible for-
 
 
    (a) the preparation of the department's resource accounts, and
 
    (b) their transmission to the Comptroller and Auditor General.
      (7) The Treasury may appoint an official of a department as accounting officer in respect of a particular part of the department's resource accounts; and that person shall be responsible for the preparation of that part of the accounts.
 
      (8) The following provisions of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866 shall cease to have effect-
 
 
    (a) section 22 and Schedule A (appropriation accounts);
 
    (b) section 23 (mode of keeping accounts);
 
    (c) section 25 (balance sheet);
 
    (d) section 26 (statements of adjustments and excesses);
 
    (e) section 31 (objections by Comptroller and Auditor General).
Resource accounts: scrutiny.     6. - (1) The Comptroller and Auditor General shall examine any resource accounts which he receives from a department under section 5(4) with a view to satisfying himself-
 
 
    (a) that the accounts present a true and fair view,
 
    (b) that money provided by Parliament has been expended for the purposes intended by Parliament,
 
    (c) that resources authorised by Parliament to be used have been used for the purposes in relation to which the use was authorised, and
 
    (d) that the department's financial transactions are in accordance with any relevant authority.
      (2) If resource accounts appear to the Comptroller and Auditor Genral to suggest that a material use of resources required but did not receive the authority of the Treasury-
 
 
    (a) he shall inform the Treasury, and
 
    (b) if the Treasury sanction the use of resources, he shall treat it as always having had the Treasury's authority.
      (3) Where the Comptroller and Auditor General has conducted an examination of accounts under subsection (1)-
 
 
    (a) he shall certify them and issue a report,
 
    (b) he shall send the certified accounts and the report to the Treasury not later than 15th January of the financial year following that to which the accounts relate, and
 
    (c) if he is not satisfied of the matters set out in subsection (1)(a) to (d), he shall report to the House of Commons.
      (4) The Treasury shall lay accounts and reports received under subsection (3)(b) before the House of Commons not later than 31st January of the financial year following that to which they relate.
 
      (5) Section 1 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1921 (examination of appropriation accounts) shall cease to have effect.
 
 
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