In considering the adequacy of funding for the National Audit office, the Public Accounts Commission takes into account the proposals of the Comptroller and Auditor General as set out in the National Audit Office corporate plan, together with the views of the Public Accounts Committee and the Treasury. The Commission has received no other representations.
I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that answer. Will he confirm that the quality of audits is beyond dispute and that they are absolutely first class? Nowadays shoppers and everybody else seek value for money. Is my hon. Friend satisfied that sufficient value-for-money audits take place? Are people getting value for money from Government Departments, and is my hon. Friend satisfied that they have sufficient audits?
I agree with my hon. Friend that value for money from Government Departments is at least as important for Government Departments as it is for the consumer. I am happy to tell him that there were 43 value-for-money exercises last year and 47 this year, and that there will be 50 next year and each year thereafter. The House can be grateful to the Comptroller and Auditor General, his staff and other firms for the time and experience that they devote to value-for-money exercises in Government Departments.
Surely the Public Accounts Commission has an interest in this firm of bookmakers which over the past three years has managed to blow £4·5 million, including recently £1·2 million on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. Perhaps that firm of bookmakers did not realise that a horse which was doped in the United States should not be running in local races in Cumbria.
Sir Peter Horden:
I have to tell my hon. Friend, with some disappointment, that the Public Accounts Commission has no authority over the Audit Commission, which looks after local government. We are responsible for the National Audit Office. Much as I think that the Public Accounts Commission would like to look at a firm of bookmakers, that does not come within its ambit.