§ MR. WEIR
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether his attention has been called to paragraph 6, page 234, of the Annual Account of the Ordnance Factories, in which it is stated under the heading semi-manufacture that a loss is involved in the excess of production of articles which accumulate in the semi-manufacture, and whether there is now a strict adherence to instructions that only the number of articles actually ordered on the extracts are to be put in hand; and, will he state who is responsible for disregarding the orders issued to the Ordnance Factories?
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. POWELL-WILLIAMS, Birmingham, S.)
The cases referred to arose under a former administration of the Factories dating back from 15 to 30 years, and they are dealt with in the second Report of 1897 of the Public Accounts' Committee, at page 76.
§ Mr. WEIR
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War if he will state who is responsible for the deficiency of 4,960 feet cube of ash plank of the value of £909. 6s. ld., referred to in the Annual Account of the Ordnance Factories, page 230, par. 10; whether any 404 explanation of this deficiency can be given; and, whether any steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of any such irregularity?
MR. POWELL - WILLIAMS
The apparent deficiency was explained to the Committee, on Public Accounts. The stacks of timber were very old, and from their construction did not admit of accurate stock taking. As stated to the Committee, steps have been taken to secure accurate stock taking in future.
§ Ma. WEIR
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War if he will state why the War Office failed to furnish a reply to the request of the Auditor General of Public Accounts, made on the 10th March 1897, as to whether certain forgings of the book value of £1,920 remaining in the Central Store, to which they had been transferred from the Gun Factory and Laboratory in April 1889, are still serviceable; will he state when a reply will be forwarded; and, whether these forgings are still serviceable for the purpose for which they were originally intended?
The Question of the Auditor General was answered on the 5th April; and on the 5th May the case was explained to the Public Accounts Committee. The greater part of these forgings are still available for the purpose for which they were intended. Some have been already used.