§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, during the war, the finance branch of the Army had practically nothing to do, while the contracts branch was overwhelmed with work; and whether the finance branch gave its men to the contracts branch.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
I think the expression used by me in debate was calculated to create a wrong impression and to do an injustice to a very hardworking section of the personnel of the War Office. What I intended to indicate was that the work of examination and audit was of necessity for a time suspended, but not that those who were charged with this work were unoccupied. On the contrary, I believe that they shared the very heavy general burden which fell on the office. I was inexact in stating that transfers were made from the finance branch to the contracts branch; the contracts branch was largely reinforced from other sources; but there were important transfers in the finance branch itself. I am glad to have this opportunity of correcting a wrong impression, which I had no desire to create, and I thank the hon. Member for giving me the opportunity.