MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War have the arrangements yet been settled to ensure the financial control of the Treasury and of this House under the new financial scheme recommended by the War Office Committee of Three; is it intended that the Treasury, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and the Public Accounts Committee shall exercise the same powers as at present, that the Estimates shall be presented in 192 their present form, and the sums voted be appropriated as at present by the Appropriation Act; or, if any changes are proposed, what are those changes; who will be the accounting officer for Army expenditure under the new scheme; is it proposed that the four Military Members of the Army Council, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, or the eight Major-Generals of districts shall have any power of deflecting moneys voted, from one Vote to another, without the assent of the Treasury; and can he undertake that an opportunity shall be given to this House of discussing and expressing its opinion upon any proposed financial changes before these are carried out.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. ARNOLD-FORSTER,) Belfast, W.
The financial control of Parliament and the Treasury will remain unchanged. The Treasury, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and the Public Accounts Committee will exercise the same powers as at present. It will be necessary to rearrange some of the Votes, but the Estimates will be presented in practically the same form as at present, and the sums voted will be appropriated as at present under the Appropriation Act. The Director of Army Finance will be the accounting officer for Army expenditure. Neither the Major - Generals nor the Army Council will have any power to deflect moneys voted from Vote to Vote or Sub-head to Sub-head, without Treasury sanction.