Search Legislation

Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Section 82: Authorisation of certain expenditure

This section enables the Secretary of State to incur expenditure on preparing for legislative changes within his responsibilities, provided that he has the consent of the Treasury and the approval of the House of Commons.

Under a 1932 Public Accounts Committee concordat, any functions of a Government Department that continue beyond a given year – particularly where there are financial liabilities – should normally be defined by specific statute, rather than rely solely on the authority of the annual Appropriation Act.

The section enables the Secretary of State to seek specific Parliamentary approval to incur expenditure to prepare for future changes in the functions within his responsibilities (i.e. social security benefits, child support, war pensions), without the need for further primary legislation.

For example, a new benefit, or major changes to existing provisions, requires a significant amount of preparatory work: such as developing and testing new computer systems, and preparing manuals for use by staff. Often such work has significant lead-in time. This power will enable the Secretary of State to obtain the approval of the House of Commons to commence such work, and so avoid the risk of a delay in implementation.


Subsection (1) gives the power to incur expenditure. Subsections (2) to (7) clarify and limit the way the power would work.

Subsection (2) requires the Secretary of State to obtain the approval of both the Treasury and the House of Commons before the power is exercised in any specific instance.

A report detailing the purpose and amount of expenditure must be laid before the House of Commons. (This procedure is modelled on the provisions of section 88B of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 – inserted by the Local Government Finance Act 1992, Schedule 10, paragraph 18).

Subsection (3) limits the Secretary of State’s right to incur expenditure to two years, starting from the date the report is approved by the Commons.

Subsection (4) ensures that other powers to incur expenditure, either for development work or under other specific legislative authority, are not affected by this new power.

Subsections (5) and (6) provide for adjustments between the Consolidated Fund and the National Insurance Fund (which pays for National Insurance benefits and their administration).

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources