§ 48. Sir W. Smithers
asked the President of the Board of Trade what useful purpose is served by the trade census, particulars of which have been sent him; what is the cost per annum of this service; and if he will take the necessary steps to abandon it.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
The present cost of the annual census of production required by the Statistics of Trade Act, 1947, is about £175,000. The total cost of work on the first census of distribution, which began in 1949 and was completed but for collation and publication by the end of 1951, will be some £710,000.
It is essential that the cost of any such work should be justified by the benefit that it brings to industry and the community. I have accordingly appointed a committee, including representatives of industry and commerce, under the Chairmanship of Sir Reginald Verdon Smith, to advise me on future policy with regard to the taking of censuses of production and distribution. The Committee are examining inter alia the uses to which the censuses are put.