§ 33. Mr. MABANE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the growing interest in the distributive problem both in the House and in the country; whether he is aware that the almost complete absence of statistical information about distribution prevents any approach to the problem; and whether he will, therefore, now accede to the request that a census of distribution should be instituted?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Cartland) on 9th November.
§ Mr. MABANE
Has the attention of my right hon. Friend been drawn to the Canadian and American censuses of distribution; and does he not think that with the information of such a census, great value could be attached to a census of distribution in this country?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
As I informed the House a few days ago, if we had a census of distribution it would cost £500,000, and I am not prepared to recommend that expenditure to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Sir ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
Apart from the question of the cost, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the knowledge which we possess about costs of production is entirely sterilized unless 1494 we have knowledge to enable us to eliminate unjustifiable costs in distribution?
§ Mr. PALING
If the expenditure of £500,000 resulted in some beneficial action being taken, would it not be better than the policy of drift?