HC Deb 17 November 1936 vol 317 cc1493-4
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?


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.


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?


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.


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 we have knowledge to enable us to eliminate unjustifiable costs in distribution?


If the expenditure of £500,000 resulted in some beneficial action being taken, would it not be better than the policy of drift?