§ Mr. Thorpe
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that information obtained by the Retail Census at present being carried out by the Business Statistics Office remains confidential.
§ Mr. John Davies
The Statistics of Trade Act, 1947, under which the Census of Distribution for 1971 is being taken, forbids the disclosure of information relating to an individual undertaking. The Act prescribes penalties for the disclosure by any person of any such information.
The Business Statistics Office—formerly the Census Office of the Board of Trade—enforces stringent rules to prevent inadvertent disclosure of information supplied by individual businesses when 188W publishing the results of a census or when meeting requests from other Government Departments or the general public for special analyses.