HC Deb 15 April 1948 vol 449 cc1142-3
15. Mr. Shepherd

asked the President of the Board of Trade the statistical basis on which he calculates that our present national product exceeds that of 1938.

Mr. H. Wilson

There are considerable statistical difficulties in evaluating the net results of divergent changes in many industries over a period of ten years and different methods may give different results. I am, however, informed that the statement that our production exceeds that of 1938, which appeared in the Economic Survey for 1948, was based on the fact that such calculations as can be made from the data in the Monthly Digest of Statistics and other publications, together with the Index of Production for 1946 and 1947, indicate clearly that whatever method is employed, the current level of production exceeds that of 1938.

Mr. Shepherd

As this is of considerable interest to the country, will the President of the Board of Trade produce what evidence he has in some form which is available to Members of this House and to members of the public?

Mr. Wilson

I will look into that. The hon. Gentleman is probably aware that quite independent calculations made, for instance, by "The Economist," came to an exactly similar conclusion, in fact, before the statement was made on behalf of the Government.

Major Bruce

Would my right hon. Friend consider disclosing in more detail how his own production indexes are now arrived at?

Mr. Wilson

I will consider that.