Exceptional grants

34.24Expenditure of an exceptional character may be initiated in a variety of ways. Provision for the Sovereign and the royal household has regularly been undertaken in response to a request by message from the Sovereign under the sign manual1 (see para 9.2 ). In a case where the Crown's right of initiative is exercised in this way, opportunity may exist for the moving of amendments which, though they increase the expenditure authorised by the particular resolutions, do not exceed the terms of the royal message.2 Any payments required have then been authorised by the Acts subsequently passed in response to the message. This procedure is considered in para 34.42. Exceptional grants to or in respect of distinguished statesmen or military commanders have been made on the initiative of the Crown or of the House itself. In these cases also, the expenses were either borne on Supply resolutions or were made charges upon the Consolidated Fund by ensuing Acts of Parliament.3


  1. 1. For example, CJ (1901) 60; ibid (1951–52) 236; ibid (1970–71) 445; ibid (2010–12) 744.
  2. 2. Spencer Walpole Life of Spencer Perceval (1874) ii, p 303. A message requesting new financial provision for the Civil List, for instance, merely requests the House ‘to adopt such measures as may be suitable for the occasion’, without specifying any limits. Accordingly, an amendment which proposed to remove the upper limit on expenditure laid down in the Government's Civil List motion has been held to be in order, CJ (1951–52) 308.
  3. 3. See Erskine May (22nd edn, 1997), p 753.