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Economic Survey (Statistics)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 15 April 1954

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4.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will furnish an estimate of the degree of accuracy, plus or minus, of the estimated statistics in the Economic Survey.

No, Sir; an adequate interpretation of the statistics in the Economic Survey is available in the Survey itself, in the Balance of Payments White Paper, and in the National Income Blue Book.

As many of these statistics are only reasoned guesses, might they not be produced on the usual scientific basis, giving some indication of the possible degree of error, because they are treated by ordinary people as representative of the precise truth?

I feel that the degree of error would be only a reasoned guess. It is fairly common knowledge to those who read the document that the estimates are the best we can give, and that the degree of statistical reliability must vary from figure to figure.