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Estimates Committee

Volume 159: debated on Friday 15 December 1922

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asked the Prime Minister if he will consider the desirability of not merely re-establishing the Select Committee on Estimates, but also securing that the Members shall have the opportunity of discussing these Estimates before they are actually laid before the House for approval; and whether he will consider making the appointment of this Committee permanent, and to attach to it the skilled assistance of some adviser corresponding to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, so that Members may be able thoroughly to understand the exact proposals which may be put forward?

I do not understand the suggestion that Members should discuss estimates before they are laid before the House. The main Estimates of the year are always presented to the House some time before they are actually discussed. With regard to the second part of the question, I think it preferable to follow the ordinary procedure of appointment each Session, as in the case of the Public Accounts Committee.With regard to the last part of the question, the Committee has every oppor- tunity of hearing evidence from the Departments and from the Treasury, and I see no useful purpose in appointing extra officials who would for considerable portions of the year have no occupation.