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Health Authority Budgets

Volume 170: debated on Thursday 19 April 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list for each health authority in Wales (a) the standstill budget for that authority in 1990–91 as estimated by that authority, (b) the standstill budget for that authority as estimated by the Welsh Office and (c) the figure made available by his Department for that authority for 1990–91.

It is not clear what the hon. Gentleman means by the term "standstill budget". The initial 1990–91 revenue allocations to health authorities in Wales by comparison with their final allocations for 1989–90 (subject to end-of-year adjustments) are as follows:

DHA1989–90 £ million1990–91 £ million
East Dyfed68·06074·897
Mid Glamorgan150·828161·446
South Glamorgan179·064188·955
West Glamorgan109·449119·263
The figures for 1990–91 take account of the full-year effect of all developments funded on a part-year basis last year before 31 December 1989. The full-year effect of developments funded subsequently during 1989–90 will be taken into account in adjustments to the initial 1990–91 allocations which have yet to be notified to authorities along with those centrally directed developments for 1990–91 which have yet to be allocated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set out the approved practice of health authorities in Wales regarding the separation of capital and revenue funds (a) under Government regulations, (b) in respect of guidance issued by his Department and (c) under independent guidance from other bodies including CIPFA and the Audit Commission.

The definition of capital expenditure which is currently applied by district health authorities in the separation of capital and revenue is as follows:Capital expenditure comprises spending on:

1.1 Acquisition of land and premises, lump sum payments for related rights (including capitalised rents), and payments made under the Land Compensation Act 1973 (including payments to local authorities for rehousing persons displaced by National Health Service acquisition); and associated fees;
1.2 Individual works schemes costing £15,000 or more (including related fees and equipment—but excluding land) for the initial provision, extension, improvement or adaptation (including upgrading), renewal, replacement or demolition of buildings, building elements (eg. roofs), external works, engineering services or plans;
1.3 Complete individual items of equipment costing £7,500 or more before the deduction of any sum obtained for any item replaced (except where the item is associated with a works scheme when paragraph 1.2 above applies regardless of cost). This includes all categories of equipment not associated with works scemes referred to in paragraph 1.2 above, other than vehicles.
1.4 All purchases of vehicles regardless of cost; and
1.5 Pay, and directly attributable expenses such as travelling allowances, of works officers and all the staff (including typists, clerical and administrative staff) of their departments who are fully or mainly engaged on spending charged to capital.
2. Spending on maintaining capital assets in effective working order, or in good repair, is charged to revenue, unless it falls within the above definition of capital spending. For example, interior or exterior redecorating, or repointing of brickwork, would be revenue whatever the cost.
3. The definition of a scheme given in the "Glossary of Hospital Building Cost Control Terminology" should be used in applying the definition of capital spending. Where the provision or replacement of certain pieces of equipment comprises two or more separate and distinct interdependent units (for example electro-diathermy equipment) doubt may arise; each interdependent unit should be regarded, for the purpose of the financial limit in paragraph 1.3 above as a complete individual item.
4. The whole cost of schemes with a mixture of capital and revenue type spending should be charged to revenue unless the estimated capital type spending exceeds the limits set out in paragraph 1; then the capital type element should be charged to capital."
All other expenditure not covered by the above definition is charged to revenue.

As noted in a separate reply to the hon. Gentleman of today's date in respect of the use of capital receipts in meeting revenue funding requirements, district health authorities in Wales are permitted a degree of in-year flexibility between revenue and capital provision.

Neither CIPFA nor the Audit Commission has any locus in issuing guidance to health authorities on such matters.