Has my right hon. Friend read that one copy, and has he observed the account of the incredibly complex price-fixing agreement between the sugar refiners and the equally complex price equalisation scheme operated by the Government? While no blame apparently attaches to Tate and Lyle, is my right hon. Friend satisfied that, with all these complexities, the taxpayer's interest is being adequately safeguarded in assessing taxes and subsidies for the sugar refiners?
Is it not significant that this large private enterprise company, one of the most virulent anti-nationalisation companies in the country with its Mr. Cube campaign, is only too happy to take great handouts from the State when the occasion arises so that shareholders' funds can benefit, in this case to the tune of £600 million?
I not only read the edition of "Accountancy Age" to which my hon. Friends have referred but the following week's edition, which withdrew everything that had been said the previous week. I appreciate the point made by my hon. Friend, and it is right that the taxpayer's interest should be carefully taken into account. I am sure that the Comptroller and Auditor General has done that in his report. If the PAC decides to submit the matter to the House, we shall have an opportunity to study it further.
Can my right hon. Friend explain to the House who bore the cost of restocking the nation's stockpile of sugar following the loans to the sugar companies, particularly Tate and Lyle? Does he agree that there are still grounds for disquiet owing to the complexity of Tate and Lyle's accounting procedures and the complexity of the issues involved? Will he ensure that, in future, Tate and Lyle presents its accounts in a simple, straightforward way in order to make clear to everyone the extent to which the firm relies on Government support?
The presentation of public companies' accounts fascinates me every bit as much as it does my hon. Friends. I should like to see such accounts presented more simply, but at the moment there is much consideration of presenting them in, if anything, a more complex way. However, I am sure that they will be crystal clear to my hon. Friend however they are presented. On the question of who benefits, I should remind the House that some of the major beneficiaries were the developing countries, for which we ensured very generous prices.
I declare an interest. Is it not appalling that Labour Members should indulge in accusations of guilt by association when the PAC has dismissed all the charges mentioned in this publication and The Times has categorically denied its own misleading report on the subject? Will the right hon. Gentleman deny the sort of implications that his hon. Friends are making?