HC Deb 11 April 1889 vol 335 cc239-40
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the strictures passed by the Comptroller and Auditor General upon the unauthorized expenditure in the year ended 31st March, 1888, of over £140,000 on Naval stores, and particularly to the statements that this expenditure appears to be, "in point of law, an act of misappropriation," and that the action of the Admiralty has been "mainly, if not wholly, determined by the desire to expend surpluses rather than surrender them to the Exchequer;" whether the House will have an opportunity of expressing its opinion upon this expenditure; and whether he will give to the House an assurance that similar "acts of misappropriation" shall not occur in future?


The Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the expenditure on Naval stores in 1888 of over £140,000 is now being considered by the Public Accounts Committee, which will no doubt report to the House on the subject. Stores were purchased prior to the 31st of March, 1888, in excess of the value authorized by the Estimates, and paid for out of savings obtained on other Votes. These purchases were reported to the Treasury, as is customary, before the close of the financial year; but as the Treasury did not express their concurrence with the action of the Admiralty before the 31st of March, as required under the terms of the Appropriation Act, the payments so made were questioned by the Comptroller and Auditor General. No doubt the House will have an opportunity of considering the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the matter. Arrangements will be made to insure the necessary communications as to excess payments being sent at an earlier date in the financial year to the Treasury for their consideration and sanction.

MR. BARRAN (York, W.R., Otley)

At what date did the Admiralty com- municate with the Treasury as regards spending this money?


About the usual time, the 28th of March.


Did not the Treasury complain that the Admiralty had not made this application until they had actually incurred the expenditure?


I do not understand that such is the case. The complaint of the Treasury was that the request from the Admiralty was not put forward in sufficient time.