HC Deb 13 March 1989 vol 149 cc16-7
62. Mr. Allen

To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission when the Commission is due to meet next; and what topics will be discussed.

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

Neither the date nor the agenda for the next meeting has yet been fixed.

Mr. Allen

Will the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission comment on EEC fraud, which is now running at some £6 billion including CAP and other cross-border frauds? Does he feel that the National Audit Office is adequately equipped to meet this particular and growing challenge?

Sir Peter Hordern

Strictly speaking, this is more a matter for the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee but I recognise that this is a most serious matter. In considering the National Audit Office estimates, the Commission has to satisfy itself that the NAO has the capacity to carry out the tasks given to it by Parliament. I understand that the NAO has provided written evidence to the European Parliament budgetary control committee for a public hearing on preventing and combating fraud in the European Community after 1992, and that the NAO joins in regular meetings with representatives of the national audit bodies of the other Community countries, at which this is one of the matters discussed.

Mr. Gow

Is my hon. Friend aware of the continuing consternation in all parts of the House that he is not permanently on the Treasury Bench? As he is seated below the Gangway, can he arrange to answer questions more frequently in the House?

Sir Peter Hordern

That is not a matter for me.