HC Deb 14 February 1956 vol 548 cc2150-1
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.

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