§ MR. J. G. HUBBARD
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he will direct that the Analysed Statement of the Public Income and Expenditure, as shown in Parliamentary Papers 452 and 387 of Sessions 1877 and 1878, be here- 1698 after incorporated in the annual Finance Statement; whether he will direct that the balance sheets of the National Debt Commissioners be dated on the 31st March, so as to correspond with the balance sheet of the Imperial Treasury; and, whether he will provide for the production at the earliest moment of the Public Annual Finance Accounts, which last year were circulated only after the close of the Session?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
, in reply, said, that he understood the Annual Financial Statement to mean the Budget; and though the Analysed Statements of his right hon. Friend were very valuable and interesting, he should not like to alter the usual form adopted in the Statements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer without very careful consideration. To do so would, of course, disturb the calculations of finance with reference to former years. With regard to the second part of the Question, he could not give directions as to the dating of the balance sheets, because some accounts were by legislation ordered to be brought down to a particular date, and there would probably be difficulty and expense in making alterations in them. In regard to the publication of the Public Annual Finance Accounts, the Government was anxious to do all in its power to produce them as early as possible; but it was more important that they should be correct than that they should be early; and the Clerk of the Treasury, who was charged with the duty of preparing them, was so fully burdened with work that the Government could only say that it would use its best endeavours to procure an early publication.