§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he will give information with regard to the Army Ordnance factories in the form of the Return standing on the Paper?
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. J. POWELL-WILLIAMS,) Birmingham, S.
There will be no difficulty in giving the Return for 1897–8 after the accounts of the year have been closed—say, towards the end of May. As regards, however, the Return asked for for the year 1876–7, there is great difficulty. Some of the sub-accounts, from which details would have to be taken, having long ceased to be of any use, have been destroyed. The Departments were then separate. Their accounts were not all on the same plan, and none were on the lines now adopted. To make an effective comparison between the two years would therefore be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Inquiries, however, are being made to ascertain whether any satisfactory return to meet the hon. Member's object can be prepared. If the hon. Member will confer with me, I shall be glad to meet his wishes, if possible.