MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, in the year ending 31st March, 1892, there were instances of payments to firms of contractors by the Stationery Office in excess of the amount that these firms could legally claim under the terms of their contract; whether he can state who the contractors were and what were the sums so paid for them; and what steps have been, or will be, taken to prevent the recurrence of this practice?
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
There has been no time to obtain particulars of the payments referred to; but I am assured by the Comptroller of the Stationery Office that every such advance has been 456 made in accordance with the conditions stated in paragraph 6 of the Fourth Report of the Public Accounts Committee of 1890. The advances have been reported on by the Comptroller and Auditor General in his Report on the Appropriation Accounts for 1891–2, and will come in due course before the Public Accounts Committee; and I think it better, therefore, to defer any statement pending the Committee's Report.