An Appropriation Act is an Act of Parliament passed by the United Kingdom Parliament which, like a Consolidated Fund Act, allows the Treasury to issue funds out of the Consolidated Fund. Unlike a Consolidated Fund Act, an Appropriation Act also "appropriates" the funds, that is allocates the funds issued out of the Consolidated Fund to individual government departments and Crown bodies.
Each Appropriation Act has a series of schedules which contain tables that set out how the monies issued out of the Consolidated Fund are appropriated. Each department or body which has money appropriated is noted in the tables which contain columns setting out the things the money appropriated may be spent on, the net resources authorised for use, the grants out of the Consolidated Fund, the operating appropriations in aid and the non-operating appropriations in aid. The money may not be spent for purposes other than that it is appropriated for and it must be spent by the end of the fiscal year covered by that appropriation or returned to the Consolidated Fund.
The typical structure of such an act begins with the long title, which defines which financial years the act applies to. This is followed by the preamble, which is different from the normal British public general Act of Parliament preamble in that it includes additional text before the normal preamble:
Whereas the Commons of the United Kingdom in Parliament assembled have resolved to authorise the use of resources and the issue of sums out of the Consolidated Fund towards making good the supply which they have granted to Her Majesty in this Session of Parliament:—
Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
Until 2000 an older form of preamble was used:
Most Gracious Sovereign, WE, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom in Parliament assembled, towards making good the supply which we have cheerfully granted to Your Majesty in this Session of Parliament, have resolved to grant unto Your Majesty the sums hereinafter mentioned; and do therefore most humbly beseech Your Majesty that it may be enacted and be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
An Appropriation Act normally becomes spent on the conclusion of the financial year to which it relates.
- Bradley & Ewing (2003) pp. 202–203
- The Law Commission. Statute Law Revision: Third Report. Draft Statute Law (Repeals) Bill. Law Com 37. Cmnd 4546. HMSO. London. December 1970. Page 23.
- Bradley, A. W. & Ewing, K. D. (2003). Constitutional and Administrative Law (13th ed.). London: Pearson. pp. 202–203. ISBN 0582438071.
- HM Treasury (2000). Government Accounting: A Guide on Accounting and Financial Procedures. Stationery Office Books. ISBN 0-11-702668-9.
- "Appropriation Act 2008". Office of Public Sector Information. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-04.