"My mind is focused on one figure which is the gap between what we believe we are getting terms of funding and what we believe we need. At the moment we're estimating it's about £69-£70 million for next year and probably about the same again the following year.
"Moving forward, leading the organisation, I'm looking at the gap between the budget and what we think it will cost to run the organisation at the moment. That's about £70 million. We're seeing a challenge there but we think it is a challenge we will meet."
The budget is "tight" but he could live with it, Mr House said. "I would rather have more money but do I think it's liveable with? Yes."
The budget for 2013-14 is "do-able", he said, and this is based on his experience as Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police which, in the last few years, "achieved significant improvements in performance and reduced budgets at the same time".
Mr House has already warned that merging Scotland's eight police forces into one could mean the loss of up to 3,000 support staff. But that is the "absolute upper limit" of what the job losses would be.