HC Deb 13 February 1947 vol 433 cc532-3
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 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.

Country. 1936. 1946
Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value
Th. Lbs. £000. Th. Lbs. £000.
Southern Rhodesia 14,960 603 23,192 4.300
Nyasaland 13,057 620 10,898 1,159
British India 13,740 450 17,692 2,031
Canada 9,289 600 9,351 1,167
Turkey 392 35 3,070 818
United States of America 214,061 14,607 365,803 55,168
Cuba 622 1,150 60 18
Other Countries 6,242 424 3,367 961
Total 272,363 18,489 433,433 65,622