§ 4.3 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD RHODES)
My Lords, I beg to move that the draft of the Census of Distribution (1967) (Restriction on Disclosure) Order 1965, a copy of which was laid before this House on July 22, be approved. This Order relates to the census of distribution which is to be taken by the Board of Trade in 1967 in respect of trade done in 1966. It is concerned with one limited aspect of that census—the non-disclosure of information about particular undertakings. Under the Statistics of Trade Act disclosure of particulars about individual undertakings is generally prohibited, but there are exceptions. The President of the Board of Trade may direct information to be passed to other Government Departments for the purpose of exercising their functions and information may also be disclosed for the purpose of proceedings for offences under the Statistics of Trade Act.
The Act empowers the Board of Trade to impose further restrictions on the disclosure of information about particular undertakings, and the present Order is submitted as a proposed exercise of those powers. In effect, it prohibits the disclosure of information obtained from individual undertakings to other Government Departments except with the written permission of the firm concerned. It does this by prohibiting all disclosure of information about particular undertakings except for the immediate purpose of census returns and for the purpose of prosecuting offences under the Act; for example, the furnishing of false returns. In this way, everyone can be sure that the information he gives will be treated in the strictest confidence. The Order is on the same lines as the Orders made in connection with all three previous censuses. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Draft Census of Distribution (1967) (Restriction on Disclosure) Order 1965, laid before the House on July 22 last, be approved.—(Lord Rhodes.)
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for 708 the statement he has made, and to say that we on this side welcome it.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.