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Statistical Information

Volume 978: debated on Monday 4 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade to what extent he has alleviated the burden of providing information for statistics for which his Department is responsible.

The Government are determined to reduce, so far as possible, the number of statistical forms sent out to industry and commerce, particularly to small firms. The number of such forms to be sent out this year, in the inquiries for which my right hon. Friend is responsible, will be 15,000 fewer than last year. I am personally reviewing all inquiries and I expect to make substantial further savings.

I am impressed by my hon. Friend's determination. Among the forms that were sent out, did he notice a reduction in those relating to the 1978 retailing inquiry, which was such a pest to my constituent, Mr. Archer?

I was impressed by the strong representations my hon. Friend made on behalf of her constituent. We have cut the number of forms sent to retailers in the annual retailing inquiry from 24,900 in 1979 to 19,900 this year. Moreover, no independent retailer with an annual turnover of less than £25,000 will be required to fill in a form. That may well be of benefit to my hon. Friend. In addition, simplified forms are being sent to retailers with a turnover of £150,000 or less.