Treasury overspends on Revenue & Customs building

Huge technical overspending by the Treasury on plush refurbishment of the new offices of the Revenue & Customs has been revealed in statements in the Commons, hours after a Public Accounts Committee report warned government departments to keep within their estimates.

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The MPs said: ‘We look to the Treasury to bring our concerns to the attention of departments more generally.’

Paymaster general Dawn Primarolo revealed increases totalling almost £270 million in the Departmental Expenditure Limits set for the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise.

She blamed amounts required to enable the refurbished Treasury building in Parliament Square to be brought into their accounts.

The overspending was revealed in two of a series of statements and supplementary estimates relating to different government departments being presented to Parliament during the course of Tuesday.

In her Customs & Excise statement Primarolo said the DEL would be increased by £136 million, with administrative costs up £53 million to enable their part of the building to be brought within the balance sheet, and an increase of £84 million in the capital element for the same reason.

Her statement relating to the Revenue showed the DEL up £134 million, with £62 million on administrative costs and £97 on capital for the same reason. In both cases there were some small offsets.

The PAC report relating to the previous year showed only one department – Customs – and one pension scheme – the teachers – had been unable to manage their consumption of resources and cash requirements within the scope approved by Parliament.

The MPs recommended departments review financial models to ensure their estimates fully reflect the requirements of resource accounting.

The departments ‘are reminded that the type as well as the amount of expenditure needs to be kept within the scope set by Parliament in the ambit of the Request for Resources.’

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