§ 77. Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the burden which is imposed on manufacturing chemists by the 28-page questionnaire, containing 1,500 questions, which has been sent to them for completion during recent weeks; and whether arrangements will be made to postpone the date by which this form must be completed until the present shortage of manpower and fuel is disposed of.
§ Sir S. Cripps
I fully appreciate the difficulties some firms may have in completing the questionnaires issued in connection with the Partial Census of Production for 1946, but the hon. and gallant Member should be aware that of the 1,500 entries mentioned only a proportion will need to be answered by any one firm. If firms have not maintained records in a form which enables them to provide answers to questions without involving them in an inordinate amount 533 of trouble, they should complete the form to the best of their ability, making estimates where necessary. When returning the forms to the Census of Production Office they should explain the position, and the missing details will not then be pressed for. The date by which the form must be completed has been extended by one month, as announced on 21st January in the Debate on the Statistics of Trade Bill.
§ Mr. Churchill
Is no estimate forthcoming of the net less to the public—the cost to the public—of this extremely elaborate inquiry into matters which have not previously called for any such inquiry?
§ Sir S. Cripps
There has always been a Census of Production, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, but it has not been taken since 1935, and this is the first occasion since then. The partial Census of Production is being undertaken to facilitate the full census when it is taken and to find out how it could be done most conveniently.
§ Mr. J. Lewis
On a point of Order. I think, Mr. Speaker, your guidance has been sought before on this matter, but hon. Members who find themselves quite unable to hear what Questions are being asked or what supplementaries are being put to Ministers, would really be grateful if other hon. Members would not talk during that time, as it is quite impossible to hear the answers.
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