HC Deb 07 July 1943 vol 390 cc2100-1
72. Mr. Higgs

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware of the increasing demands that are being made on industry and agriculture to supply statistical data and of the manpower which is being absorbed in making these returns; and whether he will give instructions to all Departments considerably to limit their demand for information?

Mr. Assheton

It is the aim of Government Departments to restrict these returns as much as possible. If my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind, I would suggest that he should bring it to the notice of the responsible Minister.

Mr. Higgs

Is the Financial Secretary aware that it takes 20 per cent. of the time of the staff of an industry concerned to fill in these forms? The Minister says he is endeavouring to decrease the number of forms, but I can assure him they are increasing, and will he take some action in the matter?

Mr. Assheton

I hope my hon. Friend will draw the attention of the appropriate Minister to the matter.

Mr. Hopkinson

Is the Financial Secretary aware that many forms of this sort issued by the Ministry of Labour are such that it is quite impossible to fill them up with any information to be of any use to any mortal soul?.

Mr. Stokes

Will the hon. Gentleman seriously consider sending a representative from his Department to any engineering works he likes to choose, just to examine the number of forms that have to be filled in daily before business can be done, and so see for himself?

Mr. Assheton

I do not think that that would be part of the duty of the Treasury.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is it not a wasteful use of paper?

Mr. Higgs

Is the Financial Secretary aware that the returns of the Ministry of Labour alone necessitate 773 headings every three months and, in addition to that, weekly returns?

Mr. Assheton

Perhaps my hon. Friend would make representations to the Ministry of Labour.