HC Deb 15 October 1942 vol 383 c1768
69. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to dispense with the mainly superfluous costing establishments in the Production Ministries by substituting a requirement that every company produces a certificate from its auditors confirming its statement of costs?

Sir K. Wood

I cannot accept my hon. Friend's suggestion that the costing staffs in the Production Ministries, who are working under heavy pressure, are mainly superfluous, and I should not therefore be prepared to adopt this suggestion. Every effort is being made by those Departments, in the negotiation of contract prices, to limit, so far as is consistent with the public interest, the extent of their investigations, and to make full use of all information which the firms in question, or their auditors, are in a position to provide.

Mr. Edwards

Will not the right hon. Gentleman give further consideration to this proposal? Is he not aware that the entire Income Tax and increased Excess Profits Tax are collected by this simple process? There is no difference.

Sir K. Wood

I am willing to use the statements of auditors for certain purposes, but I could not confine myself to the hon. Member's proposition.

Mr. Higgs

Is my right hon. Friend aware that as many as three costings take place on many products, and will he not consider a simplification of this procedure?

Sir K. Wood

I am always willing to do that, but I am not prepared to confine myself to the hon. Member's suggestion.