§ 39. Mr. Cronin
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made in obtaining the more up-to-date statistical information and the improvement in economic advice which his predecessor indicated as necessary in the Budget statement on 17th April, 1956.
§ Mr. Birch
The Prime Minister, when Chancellor, made a statement on 1st August, 1956, setting out an immediate programme for the improvement of economic statistics. I am glad to say that with the co-operation of business and the public, considerable progress has been made in getting more comprehensive and up-to-date information. For example, a larger sample of firms now provide quarterly figures of capital investment and of stocks, and also, for the first time, of profits. Quarterly estimates of national expenditure and its components were published for the first time in January, 1957.
§ Mr. Cronin
I concede that the reply of the right hon. Gentleman indicates that there has been some improvement in the statistical information, but does not it also suggest that there has been no improvement whatever in the quality and quantity of the economic advice available to the Chancellor? Does the present Chancellor confine himself still to last year's Bradshaw, or is he looking at this year's Old Moore's Almanac?