HC Deb 22 February 1951 vol 484 c1434
13. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade why his accounts for fertilisers are not such as to enable the examiners to satisfy themselves of their accuracy for 1948–49; and what steps he is taking to produce the evidence required by the examiners.

Mr. H. Wilson

The Trading Accounts of the Fertilisers Directorate for 1948–49 related to the trading year ended 30th June, 1948. The examiners' qualification of their report was due to difficulties in applying all the checks they considered necessary in dealing with an account, which, by reason of the system of subsidies in force, is particularly complicated. The accounting system has since been revised and special measures taken to brink the work up to date. The examiners' work on the accounts for the year ended 30th June, 1949, was satisfactorily completed.

Mr. Osborne

Since the Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report is nearly 12 months after the end of the year with which he is dealing, is the right hon. Gentleman, satisfied that it does not represent censure on some people in his Department for not doing properly the work they should have done?

Mr. Wilson

The year to which I think the hon. Gentleman refers was a year in which there were tremendous complications, mainly arising out of the war, because of subsidies. It would take, in my view, an unwarrantable number of staff to try to track down all those figures and subsidies for a past period. The figures for the following year were quite satisfactory.