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Census Of Production

Volume 649: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1961

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29.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will reallocate the items included under the different headings in the Census of Production in order to give more useful information to the metal working industries.

Representatives of industry are consulted about the Census of Production questions to ensure that the information collected is in a useful and practicable form. If the hon. Member has any suggestions to make I shall be glad to consider them.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of industrialists are very dissatisfied with the information which is produced? Is he aware, for instance, that under the heading, "Art Metal Ware," reproduction brass ware is merged with ornamental gates and under "Agricultural and Horticultural Appliances," brass sprays and spraying equipment are merged with apparatus for keeping chickens, and the resulting information is not very helpful to the trades concerned?

I should be very glad to look into the cases brought to notice. We try to make the information collected as useful as possible to industry, and to this end well over 250 trade associations are consulted. We shall be glad to hear other representations corresponding to those mentioned by my hon. Friend.

30.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the annual cost of producing the Census of Production; and why three years elapse between the end of the year to which it refers and the publication of the Report.

The average annual cost of taking the censuses of production is estimated to be about £220,000. Most of the information is made available well within three years, but the Census is a basic inquiry directed to many firms, and to collect all the returns and publish all the results inevitably takes time, though less than formerly.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that stale information is quite useless to industry, if not dangerous? In view of the costs concerned and also the fact that if we enter the Common Market we shall need quick and accurate information, will he do what he can to expedite production of this information.

The first results are made available within a period of twelve months and on the census as a whole we do quite well—much better than the United States.