To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) how much she estimates will be top sliced from strategic health authority budgets in the year 2006–07;
(2) if she will reverse the decision to top slice primary care trust budgets to meet financial targets.
The requirement for national health service organisations to bank reserves with their strategic health authority (SHA) was announced by the Department in The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2006–07".
The amount of reserve to be banked and the terms of the agreement will be agreed with their SHA. SHAs are responsible for the financial management of the organisations within their area and for delivering financial planning targets agreed with the Department. Holding financial reserves is a prudent approach to financial management, so the Department is encouraging SHAs to hold reserves because it will help them deliver their financial targets.
There are no plans to top slice SHA budgets, but any net overspending by organisations within a SHA area in 2005–06 will result in a reduced allocation in 2006–07 for that SHA in line with Government resource accounting and budgeting rules on the carry forward of over and under spending.