HC Deb 17 February 1971 vol 811 c1830
35. Mr. Hicks

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the fact that the building 'and construction industry and the timber trade are characterised by a large number of small units, he will consider the use of sampling techniques to replace the collection of statistics on a universal basis, thereby removing some of the administrative burdens imposed on individual firms.

Mr. Channon

Sampling techniques are already widely used in the collection of statistics from the construction industry. The Standing Consultative Committee for Statistics of the National Consultative Council for the Building and Civil Engineering Industries is examining generally the collection of statistics on construction.

Mr. Hicks

Is the Minister aware that in the context both of the national economy and of regional economies, such as that of the South-West, these industries play a major role, and that any further assistance in reducing the financial overheads arising from the time spent in form-filling will be most welcome and also will provide a stimulus to a more efficient use of resources?

Mr. Channon

I entirely agree that there is nothing more ridiculous than filling in forms which are a waste of time. I hope that the report will be speeedily available and will be generally helpful.

Mr. Maddan

Would my hon. Friend say what statistical professional resources his Department has and does he consider them adequate to cope with the introduction of sampling techniques for many of the records kept by his Department?

Mr. Channon

I think they are adequate, but if my hon. Friend has a detailed point perhaps he would put down a Question.