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National Audit Office: EU

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 2016.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

I apologise. I am not used to being a Minister. [Interruption.]

Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

What assessment the National Audit Office has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on its work.

Photo of Martin Vickers Martin Vickers Conservative, Cleethorpes

What assessment the NAO has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on its work.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

The National Audit Office uses its resources to provide direct support to Parliament and stands ready to support parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit. In my humble view, there should be more, not less, parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit. The NAO is keeping in close touch with Departments as their preparations for exiting the EU develop. This will be a major task for Departments and is likely to include additional work for the NAO, not least the audit of the new Department for Exiting the European Union.

Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

What value-for-money aspects of Brexit does the NAO intend to examine?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

The NAO’s scrutiny will focus initially on the capacity and capability of Departments to deliver an effective and efficient exit process. The NAO will work with all Departments to assess the potential impact of exiting the European Union on their financial performance and position. The NAO is already the auditor of the new Department for Exiting the European Union and will work with it and the Treasury to ensure efficiency.

Photo of Martin Vickers Martin Vickers Conservative, Cleethorpes

Following the rather over-pessimistic forecast that we heard about yesterday from the Office for Budget Responsibility, does my hon. Friend agree that it would be interesting to have another independent assessment from the NAO, which might show a more optimistic post-Brexit forecast?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

The National Audit Office will not actually assess any economic effects of exiting the EU, but what it can do is ensure that the civil service carries out its task with due diligence and efficiency. I am confident that our civil service, which is one of the most efficient in the world, will do the job properly. The NAO is certainly one of the best auditors in the world, and we will make this process work efficiently and smoothly as best we can.