HC Deb 28 January 1969 vol 776 cc1093-4
16. Mr. John Page

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the annual report of the Registrar of Friendly Societies for 1967 will not be published before 18th December, 1968, in view of the fact that the returns about trades unions required by the Registrar have to be in his hands by 1st June in any year; and whether he will take steps to speed up this process.

Mr. Taverne

Preparation of the Registrar's report requires analysis of the returns of more than 400 trade unions, and this is a considerable operation. Furthermore, returns by a number of larger unions were up to three months late. Printing took a further two months after the report had been completed. The arrangements are being examined with a view to somewhat earlier publication of the report in future years.

Mr. Page

I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for trying to hasten the process, because the length which he has described seems unnecessary, especially the two months for printing. Is the reason why some of the unions were late in sending their reports the fact that they had difficulty in dealing with the documents of the nearly quarter of a million trade unionists who contracted out during the year due to dissatisfaction with the Labour Government?

Mr. Taverne

The timing of the returns is governed by the Trade Union Act, 1871. The delay is nothing unusual.