HC Deb 25 October 1939 vol 352 cc1397-8
65. Mr. E. Smith

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been directed to paragraphs 23 to 26 of the second report of the Committee of Public Accounts regretting that definite results in the improvement of financial control have not been achieved, that coordination is lacking, and relevant documents mislaid, and urging that this should be treated as an immediate matter of pressing importance; the explanation of this state of affairs; whether the Treasury have now been consulted; and what steps have been taken to deal with the matter?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Shakespeare)

Yes, Sir. The Departmental Committee referred to in paragraph 23 of the second report of the Public Accounts Committee presented their report on 4th August last. Before doing so, the Committee had the benefit of consultation with representatives of the Treasury. I understand that in accordance with normal procedure, the questions raised by the Public Accounts Committee, and the conclusions reached by the Departmental Committee, will be dealt with in the Treasury minute on the report of the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr. Smith

In view of the serious statements made in this report, is the hon. Gentleman now satisfied that all inquiries were made?

Mr. Shakespeare

The committee over which I presided examined the criticisms made and made certain suggestions for improving the control. Those are now before the Treasury, and when the Treasury has reported I think the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied.

Sir Irving Albery

Do I understand from the answer of my hon. Friend that no improvement has yet been made in Treasury control?

Mr. Shakespeare

I said that criticisms had been made and that certain suggestions had also been made for improving control.

Sir I. Albery

Do I understand that none of them are yet in force?

Mr. Shakespeare

Oh, yes. Those suggestions have gone to the Treasury, and it is for the Treasury to deal with them in a Minute and to lay the Minute on the Table.

Mr. Jagger

Have they done so, and, if not, when will they do so?