§ 18. Captain Orr
asked the President of the Board of Trade by what methods and on what basis he obtains information about capital expenditure by industries in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
Information on capital expenditure is obtained from the annual census of production and from a quarterly inquiry on a voluntary basis in which I am happy to say a large number of public companies co-operate.
For further details I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to articles in the Board of Trade Journal of 31st December, 1955, and 4th February, 1956.
§ Captain Orr
Is my right hon. Friend aware that a senior official in the Board of Trade recently wrote to the chairman of a company, saying:The companies to whose chairmen I wrote were selected at random from undertakings of various sizes in order that the results of our inquiry might be based on a balanced and representative sample."?Does my right hon. Friend think that this method of taking samples at random is satisfactory.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I believe it to be, but I am always prepared to discuss it with my hon. and gallant Friend, if he has any improvement to suggest in the system, and I should be happy to do so on this occasion.