HC Deb 20 February 1908 vol 184 cc1007-8
MR. W. BENN (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

To ask the Postmaster-General, whether his attention has been drawn to the Report of the Public Accounts Committee, stating that in the financial year 1905–6 accounts had been adjusted at Edinburgh and Glasgow telegraph store depots in order to effect an agreement, as far as possible, between expenditure and the authorised estimate for each individual work; and what action he has taken with reference to this matter.

(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) The facts were not quite as would appear from the Report of the Public Accounts Committee. The Comptroller and Auditor-General had reported cases in which wages and travelling expenses had been charged to wrong works, but I did not find that the errors were due to any improper motive, or that there had been any intention of manipulating the accounts in the manner suggested in the Committee's Report, nor was any such suggestion made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General in the case of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The errors in these cases appeared to be due to want of care. Attention was called to the errors at the time, and the officers in fault expressed their regret; but I did not consider that disciplinary notice was necessary at either Edinburgh or Glasgow.