said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether the Committee appointed last year to consider the revision of the Statistical Returns published by the Board of Trade have yet completed their labours; and, when the result of their inquiries is likely to be made public?
In reply, Sir, to the hon. Member, I have to state that the departmental committee to which he refers reported to the Treasury in May last upon the improvements to be effected in the form of the trade accounts; as to the means to be adopted for issuing them earlier to the public, and, further, as to the organization of that branch of the Customs which deals with this subject. It was stated a few days ago by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of the Treasury that the Report had been submitted to the Commissioners of the Customs for their opinion as to how far it was practicable to carry out these changes, and I understand that they have within the last day or two given their opinion. It will, therefore, now rest with the Treasury to determine whether they will carry out the recommendations of the committee, so far as the organization of the Department is concerned, and until this is determined, in my opinion it will not be possible to make the improvements in the accounts which are also recommended.