The Supply cycle

34.3In summary form, the annual cycle of Supply and Appropriation for a typical financial year is as follows:

  • April: Government departments' spending plans (Main Estimates) are published
  • June/July: Supply resolutions authorising the Main Estimates are approved; Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) Bill passed
  • July: Government departments lay their Annual Reports and Accounts (for the financial year ending the previous March) before Parliament
  • October/November: the Budget is presented, which can include proposed spending changes for the current or future financial years
  • February: Government departments' revised spending plans for the current financial year (Supplementary Estimates) are published
  • February/March: Supply resolutions authorising Supplementary Estimates, Votes on Account for the next financial year, Defence Votes A for the next financial year and Excess Votes for the previous financial year approved; Supply and Appropriation (Anticipations and Adjustments) Bill passed.

Although most Government spending1 is subject to Supply procedure, a significant proportion is not. Equally, some amounts included within Estimates, notably the payment of cash to the devolved administrations, are not generally regarded as public spending until the spending plans of those administrations are approved by the relevant devolved legislature. Overall, Total Managed Expenditure—the total amount of planned government spending—can be significantly different from the total spending included in the Supply Estimates.2 For the alignment of the Estimates presented to Parliament with the budgets set for individual departments, see para 34.6.


  1. 1. The sum of planned government spending through DELs and Annually Managed Expenditure, known as ‘Total Managed Expenditure’, or TME.
  2. 2. For 2018–19, Total Managed Expenditure (as projected on 13 March 2018 by the Office for Budget Responsibility, Table 4.16, Economic and Fiscal Outlook) was £812.9bn, whereas the total amount to be voted for the same financial year (in Main Estimates 2018–19, Table 2 Grand total, sum of all of the Resource, Capital and Non-Budget expenditure limits sought, published on 19 April 2018) was £601.8bn.