Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock and Loudoun, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he expects his Department to underspend its budget for 2012-13; and what estimate he has made of any such underspend.
David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has significantly improved its financial management and has put in place rigorous procedures for tracking its spending throughout the year. This has allowed us to forecast spending more accurately. The FCO Management Board monitors the Department's budget on a monthly basis and reprioritises in-year resources in order to seek the best value for the taxpayer and to achieve the Government's foreign policy priorities.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts underspends in departmental expenditure limits as part of its Economic and Fiscal Outlook in the autumn. As part of the Transparency Agenda the Government publish the full detail of plans and outturn for all Departments after the end of the financial year, usually in September. HM Treasury publish outturn data for all Departments from the combined online information system database, available on the Treasury website on a quarterly basis. Forecasts for 2012-13 outturn by Department will be published at Budget 2013.