§ 1994. Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the under-recording of imports from the EEC in(a) 1992 and (b)
§ Mr. Nelson
Prior to the introduction of the Intrastat system in January 1993, statistics on goods imported into the United Kingdom were based on customs documents. Various investigations had been carried out by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and the Central Statistical Office into the quality of the statistics. These found that, although some errors were present in the information, they were small and the factors involved tended to offset each other, so that no correction to the data was thought necessary.
It was expected that such errors would also be present in the Intrastat system. As such, the system was designed to include a method of measuring the effect of these errors
Revised FSBR Table 4.1—Public sector requirement1 Outturn Forecast Projection2 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–2000 General government expenditure—£billion 277.5 288.9 301.8 312 323 332 341 General government receipts 230.8 252.6 278.7 297 315 332 349 General government borrowing requirement 46.7 36.3 23.1 15 7 0 -8 PCMOB3 -1.3 -2.0 -1.6 -2 -2 -1 -1
in recording. The data are gathered during audit visits to traders and the results are included in the article published in the August 1994 edition of "Economic Trends", containing the outcome of a review of the Intrastat system carried out by the Central Statistical Office and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. These indicate that the value of imports from other European Union countries as reported in the overseas trade statistics publications is now under-estimated by 1.5 per cent.—around £85 million per month. The balance of payments statistics published by the Central Statistical Office include a correction to take this under-recording into account. This adjustment has been applied to data for 1993 and 1994 to date and will continue in the future, and as additional information becomes available it will be revised accordingly.
It should also be borne in mind that the review established that there were miss-allocations between countries in the old system of recording—known as the "Rotterdam" effect—which caused total imports from other European Union countries to be overstated by an estimated £2,175 million in 1992, and imports from non-member countries to be understated by the same amount. This error in attribution is corrected by Intrastat.