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various Departments as detailed below—continued.

41.

ARMY. NAVY. INDIA. No. Cost. No. Cost. Subhead. Extract. No. Cost. - --- -- - - - £. s. a. £. s. d 324 19 2 56 1 11 - – l l 381 1 1 | Naval 2,089 4 — 303 l 6 Works o | Act. | | | - 124 13 – vo 10 Vote 10 - 64 – 7 || ". | | -- 31 13 8 || vote 10 - | - 271 is 1 || * | - - - 303 10 9 | H. Wote 8 - 45 2 1 () Section | III. 3 P

REPORT OF THE COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL
UPON THE
ACCOUNTS OF THE ORDNANCE FACTORIES OF THE ARMY.
FoR THE YEAR 1905–6,

[Prepared and submitted in accordance with Act 52 & 53 Vict. c. 31, 8, 1.]

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS.

1. In accordance with the modified system of audit referred to in paragraph 3 of my Report of last year, the detailed audit has been limited to the examination of one week's labour and one week's material at the Royal Carriage Department, the Building Works Department, and the Royal Small Arms Factory at Birmingham, while a general scrutiny has been given to the Accounts of the other Factories. The errors disclosed were of comparatively small importance.

2. I have been in correspondence with the War Office on the question of the comparison of contractors' prices with the cost prices shown in the Production Statement of the Ordnance Factories. Proposals as to the carrying out of such a comparison by my Department were the subject of correspondence between the War Office, the Treasury, and the Audit Office during the years 1892 to 1895, and were discussed on several occasions by the Committee of Public Accounts. The Treasury regarded an independent comparison by my Department as of great importance, but it was considered by the then Comptroller and Auditor General that compliance with the condition imposed by the War Office of treating as confidential the details of contractors' prices when dealing with them in the published Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General would greatly impair the value of the information. The proposed comparison therefore was, with the concurrence of the Committee, abandoned for the time being. Recently, however, the question has again come before me in connection with the discussions before the Committees of 1905 and 1906 on the Note now prefixed to the Ordnance Factory Accounts, showing in what respects Trade and Factory prices may be expected to differ, and I have come to the conclusion that it would be possible to carry out a useful comparison, notwithstanding the condition as to secrecy. In reply to my proposals on the subject I am pleased to be able to report that the Army Council have agreed, subject to the understanding that secrecy as to contractors' prices is observed, that the War Office papers dealing with these comparisons shall be passed to my Department, and I have accordingly made the necessary arrangements for an examination of these documents in connection with the Account for 1906–7.

3. The value of the output for the year 1905-6, including semi-manufacture, was £2,961,669 118. 7d., showing a decrease of £379,059 15s. 7d., as compared with the output for the year 1904–5.

CAPITAL ACCOUNT AND BALANCE SHEET.

4. At 31st March, 1906, the net Capital amounted to £3,141,116 17s. 4d. Land, Buildings, and Machinery stood at £2,272,320 2s. 6d. as compared with £2,284,194 1s. 8d. on 31st March, 1905. The value of Stores in stock was £795,477 15s. 1d., a decrease of £29,111 08. 2d. as compared with the preceding year. This decrease is noted on the Statement of Incomings and Outgoings attached to the Ordnance Factories Appropriation Account (page 12) where the excess over the estimated decrease of £10,000 is explained as being due to delay in replacing issues from the reserve stores of gunstocks and cordite materials, owing to the high prices of materials, and anticipated change of pattern of gunstocks.

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Test Examination of Accounts, 1905-6.

Comparison of
Trade and Factory
Prices.

Value of Output.

Value of Capital.

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