§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the extent to which the new reporting and collection system of the trade returns underestimates the balance of payments deficit; what are the reasons for this; and if he will issue a statement on the necessary provisions to the figures published since the new systems began.
§ Mr. Nelson
I have little to add to the replies I gave to my hon. Friends the Members for Hazel Grove (Sir T. Arnold) on 21 March at column 21, and for Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 8 February at column121.
The investigations into the Intrastat system are proceeding well. Customs and Excise and the Central Statistical Office aim to publish a full report in the summer at around the same time as data from the 1994 edition of the Pink Book on the United Kingdom balance of payments is released. As announced in its first release on the estimates of the balance of United Kingdom visible trade for January 1994, published on 14 April 1994, the Central Statistical Office aims to include any preliminary adjustments shown to be necessary with the estimates for trade in February 1994 that are scheduled for publication on 12 May 1994.