John Stanley (Tonbridge and Malling, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what his policy is on the uses to which receipts from property sales by NHS Property Services Ltd retained by his Department can be put; and if he will make a statement;
(2) whether receipts from property sales by NHS Property Services Ltd will be retained by his Department or passed over to HM Treasury;
(3) whether the public expenditure increase for his Department represented by receipts from property sales by NHS Property Services Ltd which are retained by his Department will be offset by a corresponding decrease in his Department's public expenditure total.
Anna Soubry (Broxtowe, Conservative)
Plans for any sale proceeds (receipts) realised from surplus primary care trust (PCT) estate after March 2013 are still to be finalised. As with all funds provided to the Department, we prioritise funding that delivers the greatest benefits to patients and the best value for money for the taxpayer.
Capital receipts do not reduce the departments expenditure limits; in fact, the reverse is true. As departmental expenditure limits are set net of receipts, capital receipts increase the amount of capital expenditure available to the Department. The rules on retention of capital receipts are laid out in HM Treasury's consolidated budgeting guidance. These allow Government Departments to keep any receipts they obtain in the spending review (SR) period, up to the amount that was taken into account in the SR.
HM Treasury recognises that income cannot be predicted wholly accurately and also wishes to encourage Departments to find new income streams where appropriate. Departments may therefore, in any year, also retain receipts up to 20% above the level envisaged for that year as part of the SR settlement without an adjustment to budgets.
If Departments expect to obtain more receipts than provided for in the SR, they should talk to the Treasury about whether they may retain all or part of the income without an adjustment to budgets. When considering proposals, the Treasury will wish in particular to encourage additional income where this represents the results of positive management action, as opposed to under-forecasting. Work is continuing to determine whether potential receipts from the surplus PCT estate are now likely to exceed the amount originally forecast to a greater extent than that allowed for in the Treasury's consolidated budgeting guidance.