§ MR. FIRTH
asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he is aware that the Auditors of Paddington Vestry have entered on the account boobs of such vestry a statement to the effect that, having in view the statement made by the President of the Local Government Board to the effect that no method exists for enforcing a surcharge of Metropolitan Vestry Accounts, they regard the examination of the parochial accounts of the parish of Paddington as useless; whether he is aware that such accounts contain heavy charges for refreshments which ought to be surcharged; and, whether it is proposed to leave the London Vestries to expend ratepayers' money in any manner and for any purpose they think fit, or what remedy he intends to apply to this state of things?
§ MR. DODSON
Sir, I have received a communication from the auditors of the Paddington Vestry that they have appended to the accounts of the Vestry a statement that, under the existing condition of the law, the examination by them of the parochial accounts is practically of no effect, as the Act gives them no power to enforce payment of the surcharges. I have, however, no information from the auditors whether or not such accounts contain charges for refreshments; but I perceive from a newspaper extract that in the accounts for the year ended the 25th of March, 1880, the auditors disallowed £57 15s. 6d. for refreshment, of which £26 appears to have been for the erection of a tent in which a dinner was given at the opening of a slop tank. If such expenditure had appeared in the accounts which are audited by the auditor of the Local Government Board, he would have had power, not only to surcharge these illegal payments, but to recover the amount summarily from the persons by whom they were authorized. Unfortunately for the ratepayers, the auditors, under the Metropolis Management Act, have no such power; but the question as to how the present defect in the law should be remedied is rather for the consideration of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the 1200 Home Department, as I have no jurisdiction under the Metropolis Management Act.