HC Deb 10 April 1962 vol 657 cc1129-30
35. Mr. Leather

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will have statistics of company registrations broken down into geographical areas so that valuable information about industrial and commercial growth can be made available.

Mr. N. Macpherson

No, Sir. The formation of a company in a particular geographical area affords no basis for conclusions about industrial and commercial growth in that area.

Mr. Leather

Will my hon. Friend ask the President of the Board of Trade to be a little more enterprising in this matter? With respect, this forms a very important measurement as to whether or not industry is expanding in a particular area, and it would be useful for this House to have that information, and in particular for those concerned with the affairs of the City of London. It might give us some measurement for assessing whether certain eminent gentlemen are talking sense when they refer to being at the end of their tether.

Mr. Macpherson

My hon. Friend will realise that a good deal of information about industrial and commercial growth by areas can be obtained from the Censuses of Production and Distribution and from the employment returns, but I join issue with him on the point that he made, because many companies operate away from their registered addresses, many companies change addresses after they have registered, and there are many other accidents that can happen.

Mr. Leather

But, with respect, it is equally true that in relation to commercial companies the number of employees and so on gives no indication whether they are growing or not, and this is the only way in which one could assess it in districts like the City of London.

Mr. Macpherson

I shall certainly give further consideration to what my hon. Friend said, but as at present advised I cannot see my way to agreeing to do as he says.

Mr. Ross

Will the hon. Gentleman think about this again and bear in mind also that it might be as well to have statistics of liquidations, voluntary or otherwise, so that the Board of Trade can have a proper picture of what is happening in Lancashire and in Scotland?