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Analysing Public Expenditure: (2) Operating Purposes and Statistical Design

Harold Copeman
Journal of Public Policy
Vol. 1, No. 4 (Oct., 1981), pp. 481-499
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3998198
Page Count: 19
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Analysing Public Expenditure: (2) Operating Purposes and Statistical Design
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Abstract

The first of these papers (Copeman, 1981) gave a general description of the British system of public expenditure, and of the different price bases required in times of inflation, and considered recent changes and possible simplification. The present paper considers how and why the figures (on a given price base) are designed as they are, relating this to requirements of Parliamentary or governmental control (central or local), to operational efficiency, and to the need for open exposition of intentions and restraints. Examples are given from allocations to the Health Service. There are various degrees of control and audit of money voted to non-governmental bodies; where does public expenditure end? Are their accounts in line with control requirements? The comprehensiveness of expenditure planning in the United Kingdom, compared with most other countries, and the extension beyond the year ahead, has been a severe technical challenge. There is an interesting field of research into up-to-date international comparisons. An appendix discusses figures published for public expenditure, general government, central government and local authorities and provides a guide to sources of data about all aspects of public expenditure in Britain.

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