HC Deb 13 February 1941 vol 368 cc1512-3
20. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Health whether he will suspend the customary audit of municipal authorities' accounts and so release the man-power employed for that purpose for more urgent war needs, and afford a measure of relief to the staffs of local authorities whose numbers have been depleted, and whose work has been considerably increased since the war?

Mr. Brown

The audit of local authorities' accounts is the subject of statutory provisions which I have no power to suspend. I appreciate, and have no doubt that auditors appreciate, the force of the consideration to which the hon. Member refers, and I am confident that they will gladly co-operate with local authorities in all practicable steps to relieve the strain on the staff concerned.

Mr. Lipson

Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it is not advisable, in view of the considerations set forth in the question, to secure the power to suspend the statutory obligation to hold the audits?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Member wilt understand that district auditors have an independent responsibility and we are not empowered to instruct them.