§ MR. RYLANDS
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, When the Returns of Shipbuilding and Dockyard Transactions for the years 1869–70 and 1870–71 will be presented to Parliament; and whether he is able to state the reason for the long delay which occurs in the preparation of these Annual Returns; and, if he will lay upon the Table of the House a Statement showing the value of the stock of timber and stores at the Dockyards at Home at the commencement and end of the financial year 1871–2, at a sufficiently early period to be available for the use of Members when the remaining Votes on the Navy Estimates are taken in Committee of Supply?
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
Sir, the shipbuilding account for the year 1869–70 will be presented in about two months' time. Those for 1870–1 at the beginning of next year. The delay is due to the changes in the form of the account recommended by the Committee on Admiralty Accounts presided over by the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Seely), and which were carried out retrospectively in respect of accounts which had not then been presented. Every exertion is now being made to bring up the arrears; but I must remind my hon. Friend that at the earliest these accounts, which have become very voluminous and costly, cannot be completed until accounts are complete, and will therefore always at least be 12 months after the close of the financial year. I shall have no objection to laying on the Table of the House a short valuation account for the past year in time for discussion on the Store Vote.