It is important that Departments can start spending to prepare for Brexit when they need to do so. Managing public money requires that expenditure on new services must rest on specific legislation. However, delaying spend until legislation has reached Royal Assent could jeopardise readiness for Brexit.
To address this, for the small proportion of spending affected, Ministers can issue a technical direction, allowing critical spending to be incurred ahead of Royal Assent, whilst ensuring transparency to Parliament.
In these cases, the use of a direction will be a matter of timing. Departments will still need to ensure spending is in all other respects regular, proper, feasible and good value for money, in the usual way. I have asked my officials to write to all Departments explaining this process. They will also write to the Public Accounts Committee—this letter will be published to ensure full transparency.
As confirmed yesterday, by the Prime Minister to the House and by the Chancellor to the Treasury Committee, the Treasury has committed over £250 million of additional spending in 2017-18 to prepare for Brexit from the reserve. Departmental allocations will be set out at supplementary estimates in the usual way. An update on Brexit spending will also be provided at the autumn Budget.
House of Commons Hansard
12 October 2017