The Public Accounts Committee has closely followed the introduction of resource accounting. In general, the Commission and the Committee have endorsed the change as offering the potential to improve departmental management and information for Parliament. However, resource accounting has only just been introduced and its impacts will not be felt fully until 2001–02, when resourced-based supply is introduced. It is therefore too early to assess the impacts.
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. Can he confirm whether all Departments will produce full resource accounts for the year ending 5 April 2001? If so, what benefits can we expect from those more detailed accounts?
The difficulty is that not all Departments will produce their resource accounts in the next year. There will be parallel operation—old cash accounting will operate together with resource accounting. That is required to ensure that there is no slip-up between the two methods. I hope that there will be an acceleration next year and that resource accounting, and the benefits that derive from it, will be available to all Departments.