5. Major NEWMAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that under the Railway Companies (Accounts and Returns) Act every company is annually obliged to set out in proscribed form and submit to an auditor and later to each of its shareholders the results of the year's working; will he say if since 1914, under authority of the Board of Trade, important portions of their statutory reports have been omitted by the railway companies; and, now that Peace has been signed, will the Board of Trade, for the protection and information of the shareholders and the taxpaying public, enforce the carrying out of the Accounts and Returns Act even though the railways are under Government control?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir A. Geddes)
The answer to the first and second part of this question is in the affirmative As regards the third part, it has been arranged that the form of accounts in use before the War is now to be adopted again so far as it is appropriate to the present unified system of railway working.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
My hon. Friend must have misunderstood my reply. The form of accounts used before the War is now to be adopted again, so far as it is appropriate to the present unified system of control. There are certain modifications necessary.
§ Mr. M. STEVENS
(by Private. Notice): May I ask the Leader of the House 1363 when it is intended that the responsible Minister shall give further information to the House in regard to the White Paper on Railway Accounts.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)
I only received the notice of this question as I came into the House. A Minister will be glad to make a personal statement on the first available opportunity during the Debate; probably on the Third Reading would be the more convenient time.