HC Deb 01 April 1969 vol 781 c223
31. Mr. Maurice Macmillan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for improving the presentation of the annual balance of payments as well as the monthly and quarterly components.

Mr. Harold Lever

I am aware of certain disadvantages in the existing presentation of the balance of payments, particularly in the division between long-term and short-term capital. Alternative methods of presentation are being considered, but these would apply to yearly and quarterly data only.

Mr. Macmillan

Will the Financial Secretary accept that he must try to keep the yearly version of the figures more consistent with each other? The 1967 balance of long-term capital movements, for example, when first published in March, 1969, in Economic Trends, showed minus £26 million and when published on 28th March this year, a yeas later, it showed minus £116 million. That is a very wide variation between two figures which presented the same reality. Could the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that this will be looked into, as well as the major presentation?

Mr. Lever

Certainly, but this collection of figures some time after the event is one of the unfortunate necessities which have afflicted every Government statistician.