HC Deb 31 July 1951 vol 491 cc1159-60
6. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why three officials of the Scottish Home Department spent the 15th, 16th and 17th of May, and one of them in addition the 18th and 19th, in Inverness going over the accounts of the fire committee.

Mr. McNeil

Three officials of the Scottish Home Department, one of whom was a trainee, were in Inverness from the 16th to the 19th May to make a test check of grant claims of three authorities, including the Northern Fire Area Joint Committee. The claims related to the grants for the police, fire, Civil Defence, children, probation and remand home services.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

Is it not the case that the accounts of every local authority and every committee of a local authority are audited by an auditor appointed by the Scottish Home Department and are not these accounts, with the report of the auditor and his remarks, sent to the Scottish Home Department? Is the right hon. Gentleman sure that this is not a waste of public money and duplication?

Mr. McNeil

It is not a duplication. As the noble Lord suggests, other certificates are available. But these test checks, which are made in order to ensure that the committees qualify for grants, are quite normal, and I do not agree that this expeditious and essential check is a waste of public money.