§ Mr. Harold Walker
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) when he expects to be able to publish an audited account of the finances of the Hairdressing Industry Training Board;
(2) if he will hold an inquiry into the absence of financial documents relating to the deficit of the Hairdressing Industry Training Board.
§ Mr. Chichester-Clark
The report and statement of accounts of the Hairdressing and Allied Services Industry Training Board published on 31st January show that in the year ended 31st March 1972 income exceeded expenditure by £16,788 that is that contrary to Press reports the34W board had a surplus. In the subsequent six months prior to the board's winding-up on 1st October 1972, expenditure exceeded income by £1,895. The board throughout derived its income from my Department and did not raise a levy on employers. As stated in the report, the board's accounting records for the year ended March 1972 were lost and the accounts for that period have been based on the opening balances in April 1971 and an analysis of the income and expenditure shown by bank statements during the year. The auditors were therefore unable to form an opinion on the accounts for the two periods but the report records their opinion that the balance sheet as published gives a true and fair view of the state of the board's affairs as at 30th September 1972.
The accounting records and documents for year ended March 1972 were lost in the course of removal from one of my Department's buildings to another. After extensive inquiries, including notification of the police, it was concluded that the documents had been accidentally lost and that there was no hope of recovering them. I am satisfied that no useful purpose would be served by further inquiries.