Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It would be nice to know what it is for surely?

Yesterday in Parliament, the Solictor General Vera Baird made a written statement to the House on behalf of the Attorney General which said,
The Solicitor-General (Vera Baird): My right hon. Friend the Attorney-General has made the following written ministerial statement:

"Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £15.45 million will be sought in the spring supplementary estimate for the Serious Fraud Office. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £10 million will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund".
Don't you just love the way they can just say "oi, we need an extra £15 million. Give us the nod" with absolutely no explanation of why they have to raid a contingency fund. Why have they overspent? What is the extra cash for? Surely someone will ask?


Penguinissimo said...

Surely not, since the SFO's expenditure is almost certainly going to be related to ongoing criminal investigations where publishing details would be prejudicial.

I can't think why expenditure of serious fraud investigations might have gone up recently...maybe we should ask Madoff's "investors".

dizzy said...

They don't need to go into detail though. Just a bit more explanation than "give us the money"

Penguinissimo said...

But if they said please give us the money "to fund a higher than expected number or serious fraud cases and to fund cases of unexpected complexity" wouldn't that give everyone the jitters that there's some big scam about to be uncovered?

Investor confidence is (obviously) terrible at the moment, why take even a small risk that it might be reduced further?

The risk of paranoia is far greater than the reward of a two-sentence explanation in this particular case IMO - and I'm sure a bit of digging would/has uncovered areas of the government where far more than £15m is being sunk into totally pointless projects (the SFO not being in any way pointless), so we should probably focus on those instead.

Niccolo Machiavelli said...

I agree - it's almost fraudulent!

Labour Hater said...

It's investment not borrowing, apparently!

not an economist said...

Very piss poor. Seems to be lacking in elementary budgetary controls which I would expect in any public service organisation. As you suggest there should be a requirement to report on variances and give an explanation of significant under or over spends. This would then be followed by a bid for contingency funding together with detail of what it is needed for. Maybe this is going on at a lower level (i.e., officers rather than elected members)?