HC Deb 03 March 1938 vol 332 cc1251-2
1. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Labour what is the reason for the small percentage of Returns furnished by employers in certain industries and published in the Ministry of Labour Gazette?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I assume that the hon. Member refers to the monthly returns which are voluntarily supplied by employers in certain industries, giving particulars as to the numbers of workpeople in their employment and as to the number of days worked or amount of wages paid. Comprehensive statistics of unemployment in these and other industries are already published in the "Ministry of Labour Gazette," and the object of the returns referred to is to supplement these statistics by particulars indicating the changes in the state of employment at a number of representative works from which comparable information can regularly be obtained. It is not necessary for this purpose that returns should be obtained from all employers, and application is accordingly made by the Department only to a selection of employers who have been supplying returns over a long period.

Mr. Smith

Is it not a fact that if a larger number of employers provided the Minister with these returns, a far more accurate picture could be obtained of the general industrial position?

Mr. Brown

We think that, on the whole, we have a representative survey. There are one or two cases which require looking into, but I cannot ask the statistics department of my own Ministry, or indeed business organisations, to undertake this work on the scale suggested.

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