HC Deb 25 February 1971 vol 812 cc820-1
2. Mr. Waddington

asked the Secretary of State for Employment why he intends to proceed with the production of a booklet on labour costs in Great Britain in 1968.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. David Howell)

Because the proposed booklet will present the full results of this important survey in a convenient form, for which there is a clear demand. This is the normal practice with a large-scale statistical inquiry.

Mr. Waddington

Some of us fear that in some Government Departments statistics are amassed merely for the benefit of the statisticians. Will my hon. Friend have some regard for the state of health of a constituent of mine, a manufacturer who is likely to go into a decline if in grappling with the problems of today he is to receive in 1971 a booklet telling him what his labour costs were in 1968?

Mr. Howell

That is a fear of which I am well aware. I sympathise with my hon. Friend's constituent, but, despite his difficulties, the plain fact is that this is a useful publication for which there is a very strong demand, and we intend to keep publishing it in the form that we planned.

Mr. Cant

Whilst most hon. Members will welcome the up-dating of the 1964 survey, can we be assured that the labour costs will be put in a world perspective to that the wrong conclusions might not be drawn, and that the work of the Prices and Incomes Board concerning productivity in relation to labour and capital costs will also be carried forward and that some information will be given on this subject?

Mr. Howell

I will bear in mind the hon. Gentleman's first point. His second point raises a broader issue, which would require another Question.