said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he will state to the House the result of any communications he may have had with the Registrar General with reference to the collection of Agricultural Statistics; and whether Her Majesty's Government propose to take any steps for the purpose of obtaining such statistics, either by means of the office of the Registrar General, or of Inland Revenue, or otherwise?
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, in reply, that in consequence of the obstacles found to exist in the way of obtaining agricultural statistics through the agency of the Poor 706 Law Board or the County Constabulary he had communicated with the Registrar General to ascertain what would be the prospects and probable expense of procuring the desired information through that department. The Registrar General had no doubt the information could be obtained; but as the officers employed under that department were engaged in different pursuits, and were not paid by salaries to give their whole time to the public, it would be necessary to provide about £15,000 annually as remuneration for the discharge of their additional duties. The Government felt, under the circumstances, that it would not be right to ask Parliament for a grant of that amount for obtaining statistics which, as the returns could not be compulsorily enforced, would be very imperfect.