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Food Standards Act 1999

Section 39: Financial provisions

145.This section provides for the financing of the Agency. Because the Agency is a UK body operating in a devolved area, it is to be funded not only from money provided by Parliament, but also from the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. In practice, as a general rule, it is envisaged that the costs of the Agency’s main headquarters and staff, and its activities in England, will be met by money provided by Parliament, and the costs of its executive bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and of activities carried out on the ground in those parts of the UK, will be funded by them. The section ensures that devolved legislatures as well as Parliament can make the contributions to the expenditure of the Agency, and deals with the treatment of the Agency’s receipts (both from statutory charges - in practice this is likely to be mostly charges for the Meat Hygiene Service - and miscellaneous income such as charges for documents produced by the Agency).

146.Subsection (1) contains provisions authorising payment by Parliament of increases in Ministerial expenditure and spending under other Acts by virtue of the Act.

147.Subsection (2) provides for Parliament to meet the expenditure of the Agency, other than that part which is provided by the devolved authorities. It should be noted that the Agency (as a Government Department) will be funded directly by Parliamentary ‘Vote’, rather than by means of a grant paid by a Minister.

148.Subsection (3) provides the legal authority to the devolved administrations to pay money to the Agency and removes any doubt as to whether this would be within their devolved competence.

149.Subsection (4) deals with the Agency’s receipts, in particular receipts from the performance of statutory functions, such as charges for meat hygiene enforcement. Under existing legislation, such receipts are normally paid into the Consolidated Fund, though (subject to certain criteria being satisfied) the Treasury may direct that it can be ‘appropriated in aid’ to the Department or body concerned. This subsection clarifies that receipts are payable into the Consolidated Fund, unless they are

  • actually provided by Parliament (and sums appropriated in aid count as this);

  • received by the Agency from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations;

  • payable to the National Assembly for Wales or into the Consolidated Funds for Scotland or Northern Ireland, as the case may be, by virtue of a provision in legislation; or

  • determined to be payable to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland under subsection (5), explained below.

150.The Agency is also likely to have other minor non-statutory receipts, such as income from charges for consultancy or other services provided on request. Subsection (5) deals with this by providing a mechanism for the Treasury and the devolved administrations, acting jointly, to determine that receipts be payable to the Scottish or Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund, or the National Assembly for Wales, (rather than to the Consolidated Fund) as appropriate according to the nature of the receipt.

151.It should be noted that in general, sums received by the Agency, whether under Statutory Charges or from miscellaneous fees, are likely to be of the type it will be allowed to retain as appropriations or negative public expenditure. Thus the payments into the various funds described above will be nominal payments, for accounting purposes only.

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