HC Deb 15 March 1894 vol 22 cc306-7

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Estimate in Vote 8, Class III., shipbuilding contract work, exceeded the amount actually expended by £235,106 during the year 1892–93 and by £186,617 during the year 1891⤓92, and that, during the six years ending 1893, this Estimate has invariably exceeded the amount actually expended, as is likewise the case with Vote 10 for Works, Buildings, and Repairs; whether the large surpluses thus arising through continuous overestimates are applied to meet deficiencies on other Votes beyond the sums voted by Parliament for those Votes, are occasionally used to ease the Votes of a succeeding year, or are applied to meet expenditure not provided for by Parliament: whether the Admiralty have yet made any reply to the representatives of the Comptroller and Auditor General, that the Admiralty practice, as shown in these Estimates, tends to weaken the control of Parliament over the Appropriation of Grants; and whether steps will be taken to secure that in future the Estimate and the expenditure shall be more evenly balanced?


The hon. Member's question relates to points raised in the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report on the Navy Appropriation Account. These points are under consideration at the Admiralty, and a reply to the Audit Office letter will shortly be sent. The whole subject will then come in the usual way before the Committee on Public Accounts, who will, if necessary, take evidence upon it and report their conclusions to the House.