We welcome this opportunity to submit written evidence to the Kerslake Review of Her Majesty’s Treasury. This reply draws on our recent published academic work on governing and budgeting in public services and senior level personal experience of both central government and local government accounting practices. The focus of our response is that there are three main interconnected activities for central government governing and budgeting practices. These are the spending review, budget, and accountability and transparency arrangements, and it is important that they are not treated in isolation from one another. First, the spending review sets out a framework for income and expenditure levels over the medium term as part of multi-year planning (Ferry and Eckersley, 2011). The Conservative government’s spending review after 2015, like its forerunners by the Coalition government 2010-2015 and New Labour government 1997-2010, is considered to provide a stable framework within which the government can plan, construct and implement (in other words ‘constrain’) the annual budget. This veneer of stability espoused by the spending review has afforded an external legitimation to decision making, whether in a period of growth or recession.
Ferry, L., & Eckersley, P. (2016). Evidence to the Kerslake Review of Her Majesty’s Treasury. Shadow Chancellor