Production Ministries (Costing Staffs)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons on 15th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to dispense with the mainly superfluous costing establishments in the Production Ministries by substituting a requirement that every company produces a certificate from its auditors confirming its statement of costs?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I cannot accept my hon. Friend's suggestion that the costing staffs in the Production Ministries, who are working under heavy pressure, are mainly superfluous, and I should not therefore be prepared to adopt this suggestion. Every effort is being made by those Departments, in the negotiation of contract prices, to limit, so far as is consistent with the public interest, the extent of their investigations, and to make full use of all information which the firms in question, or their auditors, are in a position to provide.

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

Will not the right hon. Gentleman give further consideration to this proposal? Is he not aware that the entire Income Tax and increased Excess Profits Tax are collected by this simple process? There is no difference.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I am willing to use the statements of auditors for certain purposes, but I could not confine myself to the hon. Member's proposition.

Photo of Mr Walter Higgs Mr Walter Higgs , Birmingham West

Is my right hon. Friend aware that as many as three costings take place on many products, and will he not consider a simplification of this procedure?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I am always willing to do that, but I am not prepared to confine myself to the hon. Member's suggestion.