asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can supply the following information, to be used as a basis in framing plans to deal with the unemployment problem; how does the output of the principal industries in the United Kingdom in 1923 compare with the output in 1913, both per head of the population and per worker in each trade, and how does this output compare with the similar figures for the United States of America; can he account for the alleged much greater output in the United States than in this country; has the output in the building trade per head decreased since 1913 and, if so, by how much; and, if he has not got the necessary information to answer these questions, will 259W he consider the desirability of appointing an economic general staff in order to be able to provide such information for the future?
Unfortunately there exists no adequate basis for any statistical estimate of output in the various branches of British industry since the last Census of production. The first step to the preparation of such an estimate is a new Census; and, as the hon. Member may be aware, arrangements are now being made for taking such a Census of production in respect of the present year. I understand that the latest United States Census reports relate to 1921, but that a Census for 1923 is now in hand. Until these several inquiries are completed it will not be possible to attempt even an approximate answer to the hon. Member's question. In the circumstances, I see no reason for setting up a fresh organisation.