HC Deb 30 January 1989 vol 146 c15
Mr. Barry Field

To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission how much money has been expended by the National Audit Office on audit of the books and records of (a) the banana trade advisory committee, (b) the Black Country limestone advisory panel, (c) Government hospitality fund advisory committee for the purchase of wine, (d) the Marshall aid commemoration commission, (e) Red Sea Lights Company Ltd., (f) persons hearing estate agents appeals and (g) the wine standards board of the Vintners Company, over the most recent period for which figures are available.

Sir Peter Hordern (The Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission)

Although the Commission is responsible under the National Audit Act for considering the estimates of the National Audit Office submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the cost of particular audits that he carries out under his statutory duties is a matter for him. However, he has informed me that, of the bodies mentioned in my hon. Friend's question, he audits only the accounts of the Marshall aid commemoration commission. The cost of the audit of the 1986–87 account was £1,600.

Mr. Field

Does my hon. Friend not find it extraordinary that the Comptroller and Auditor General should be responsible for the auditing of such minor bodies, particularly the Marshall aid commemoration commission? Would it not be better if he were left, on behalf of Parliament, to concentrate on the really large audits, and private firms of auditors were responsible for such quangos?

Sir Peter Hordern

There is much in what my hon. Friend says. Of the bodies that he mentioned, however, only one is audited by the National Audit Office, and in that instance the full cost of the audit was recovered from the Marshall aid commemoration commission.