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Public Expenditure

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the reasons for the difference between the public expenditure plans for her Department for 2002–03 and the estimated outturn for that year as listed in table 2.4 on page 29 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2003. [113010]

The Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2003 shows, for Defra, estimated outturn for 2003 on a basis that is not strictly comparable with the final provision shown in the table.The main difference is that the final provision shown only includes expenditure within the Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL), whereas the estimated outturn includes some £250 million reclassified from Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) to DEL at Main Estimates 2003. The outturn figures, in order to show trends, present this reclassification retrospectively. There is no increase in public expenditure as a result of this reclassification.A smaller part of the difference arises because the estimated outturn reflects some technical errors in information input to the Treasury database from which it is derived. These are due to be corrected later this year.As a result Defra"s final outturn is expected to be within its final provision.