HC Deb 23 July 1923 vol 167 cc39-40W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in the case of railways or other public works being constructed departmentally, he will have a detailed estimate prepared in each case before the work is commenced, showing the estimated cost of each unit and a record kept of the actual cost as the work proceeds, for comparison with the estimate and with the cost of similar works carried out by contractors, so that this House can from time to time obtain information enabling it to check the expenditure of Colonies' money by the Colonial Office?


I think my hon. Friend is under some misapprehension in this matter. Detailed estimates of expenditure on public works are always prepared for the information of Colonial Governments before such works are undertaken and records are kept of actual expenditure. My right hon. Friend will readily furnish such information as is available in regard to expenditure on specified Colonial public works; but he cannot agree that a general practice of communicating estimates to this House rather than to the Colonial Legislatures immediately responsible would be practicable, while it would certainly tend to weaken the responsibility of the Colonial Governments and their officers for the detailed control of such expenditure.