HC Deb 08 October 1941 vol 374 cc979-80
40. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of difficulties and misapprehension likely to arise from the fact that the last economic survey of the Colonial Empire refers only to the years 1936–37 and preceding years, he appreciates the pressing need of at least an abbreviated report of essential social and economic statistics for recent years; and whether the publication of such a report is likely to be issued before the end of the war?

Mr. George Hall

The decision to suspend the publication of the Economic Survey of the Colonial Empire was taken as part of the general policy of reducing the number of Government publications in order to economise paper. A further consideration was that the staff normally available for the work of compilation and editing were engaged upon work vitally necessary for the conduct of the war. My Noble Friend cannot undertake to resume publication of the Survey until after the end of the war, but the more important statistics of trade, etc., are still published in separate reports, where it is possible to do so without disclosing information useful to the enemy.

Mr. Sorensen

May we take it that the Secretary of State will have published such figures as he has in his possession, and will he realise that it is very difficult to consider the general development of the Colonies unless some rudimentary statistics are in our possession?

Mr. Hall

I will consult with my hon. Friend as to the statistics that are being published.