§ 35. Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome)
What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer concerning the current scope of the responsibilities of the National Audit Office. 
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon (Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission)
I last met the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26 March, accompanied by the Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts. Among other matters, we discussed the current scope of the responsibilities of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and I pointed out to the Chancellor that accountability to Parliament could better be served by extending the access rights of the Comptroller and Auditor-General to follow public money to its final recipients. I will continue actively to pursue those matters with the Treasury in conjunction with the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
§ Mr. Heath
I am most grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, which is part of a series of answers that he has given me on the issue. Does he share my exasperation that it is now 18 months into the lifetime of this Government and we still have a glaring hole in the audit arrangements for public bodies? I note that he last 19 met the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss this some nine months ago: would it not be a good idea to have a meeting every quarter day until the Chancellor realises that the hole must be filled?
§ Mr. Sheldon
The hon. Gentleman makes an attractive proposition that I would be happy to consider. It is 20 important that the House should have the ability to follow public money wherever it goes, and there is a great gap at present. Some improvement has been made and we now have the opportunity to examine how Camelot gets its money, and one or two other organisations. The hon. Gentleman is right to pursue his campaign, and I welcome it.