HC Deb 06 April 1908 vol 187 cc938-9
MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the average price of wheat per quarter for each year, as returned on page 273 of the Statistical Abstract for the United Kingdom, is obtained by adding together the average price for etch of the twelve months and dividing the total by twelve, without regard to the quantities of wheat sold at each price; if so, will he take steps to substitute for the average of averages thus obtained an average arrived at by dividing the total sum paid for the wheat of the year by the total number of quarters for which it was paid, or can he substitute in any other way a more accurate average of the year's price than that now given as affecting to be such; is the same system of arriving at a so-called average adopted in all the Board of Trade and Customs Returns; and, if so, will ho take steps to alter it and so to provide more accurate statistics.


The average price of wheat per quarter for each year published in the Statistical Abstract is not calculated by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries in the way suggested, but by adding together the weekly averages of the weeks included in each year, and dividing the total by the number of weeks in each year. This method of calculation is laid down by the Corn Returns Act, 1882, under which Act the records of sales are obtained, and it cannot be varied without legislation. Generally speaking, the Answer to the last part of the Question is in the negative.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of inserting in the abstract a note explaining the rules on which the averages are arrived at?


There is a Committee considering the whole matter, and I will refer that point to it.