Sir J. D. REES
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the statistical branch of his Ministry continues to call upon business firms to fill in forms demanding information which, to such firms, appears to be of little or no value to the recipients, while the filling in of such forms wastes time, occupies staffs which might be better engaged, and costs the business man and the taxpayer the loss of much-needed time and money, besides irritating men who in the present critical times are preoccupied with the conduct of their own businesses; and whether he will consider the propriety of abolishing or reducing to the vanishing point all such super-statistical activities as these indicated in this question?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Inquiries are regularly made by the Ministry of Labour with a view to obtaining essential information on labour matters, including wages, hours of labour, trade disputes, retail prices, and the state of employment in the principal industries. The information so obtained is summarised and published in the monthly issues of the "Labour Gaette," and in other publications, in accordance with a Resolution of this House of March, 1886, to the effect that steps should be taken816W to ensure in this country the full and accurate collection and publication of labour statistics. Care is taken to restrict the enquiries to essential matters, and every effort is made to avoid what my hon. Friend calls "super-statistical activities." I recognise, however, that the supply of the particulars asked for involves employers, trade unions, and others in a considerable amount of trouble, and I greatly appreciate the assistance which these informants render to the Ministry in furnishing the returns.