HC Deb 30 October 1957 vol 575 cc61-3W
86. Mr. Ness Edwards

asked the Postmaster-General if he will now reconsider his decision not to publish the report of the chartered accountants on Post Office finances; and if he will make a further statement.

89. Sir I. Clark Hutchison

asked the Postmaster-General if, in view of the public interest in the financing of the Post Office services, he will reconsider his decision not to publish the recent report which has been made by a firm of chartered accountants.

Mr. Marples

I would refer the right hon. Member and my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) yesterday.

88. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Postmaster-General the surplus earned by the Post Office after calculating depreciation on the basis of replacement cost; and how does this figure compare if depreciation were allowed on the principles applied to commercial and industrial firms by Inland Revenue rules for the years 1956–57, 1957–58 and 1958–59, respectively.

Mr. Marples

In answer to the first part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to my reply of 31st July to the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun). The Answer to the second part is that if depreciation provision had remained on an historic basis the estimated results would have been better by £15.7 million, £16.9 million and £16.5 million, respectively.

90. Mr. Winterbottom

asked the Postmaster-General on what date he instructed the firm of chartered accountants to examine the Post Office accounts; and on what date he received the report.

Mr. Marples

They were instructed on 28th March last. They submitted preliminary observations during the summer and a final report on 3rd October.

91. Mr. Winterbottom

asked the Postmaster-General if, as a result of the chartered accountants' report into Post Office accounts, he is now prepared to adopt a system of accountancy which reflects accurately and in greater detail the services of the Post Office to other State Departments.

Mr. Marples

The present system provides fully for bringing to account as income either the cash received from other Departments or (in so far as cash is not received) the computed value of all services rendered to them. This is explained in the text accompanying the accounts. Since the Accountants' recommendations are generally in favour of greater simplicity, I should be reluctant to show details on the face of the accounts themselves. If, however, the hon. Member feels when he sees the next accounts that more could be done to promote understanding on this point, I shall welcome his suggestions.