Control of public sector spending
Dec 20, 2006
Bishop Hill

Chris Dillow wonders if Gordon Brown is actually in control of public sector spending, the unwritten suggestion being that he isn't.

In order for an organisation to be in control of spending, it has to have a time phased budget, and regular reports of its performance against budget. For a group of organisations like the government the results of the individual units have to be consolidated to give an overall picture of the group performance.

As far as I know, most public sector organistions are not able to produce accurate management accounts within a reasonable time after the period end. The government is certainly not able to produce consolidated accounts at any time, let alone monthly. Huge corrections at the year end are the norm, rather than the exception.

How then can it even be suggested that the government is in control of its spending? 

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