HC Deb 04 November 1980 vol 991 cc504-6W
Mr. Field

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list any additions to the collection, presentation or publication of statistics which his Department has made since May 1979.

Mr. Jim Lester

Since May 1979 there have been no additions to the collection of regular statistics, apart from some small improvements in order to maintain some of the statistical series in response to changes affecting them. There has been a continuing need to mount occasional ad hoc surveys, although there has been no increase in such activity overall. A few minor additions include extra questions in the 1979 new earnings survey as part of the six-yearly survey of the structure of earnings in the European Community.

There have been some improvements made in the presentation and publication of statistics to assist in better use of the data already collected; for example, an integrated monthly commentary on trends in labour statistics has been introduced in the Employment Gazette and, in the latest issue, the layout of tables has been revised and streamlined, though with no net increase in the space occupied.

Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement detailing any reduction or abolition in the collection or publication of statistics or reports by his Department since May 1979, indicating if such information is available from any other source; and what financial savings have been made by any such changes.

Mr. Mayhew

[pursuant to his reply 28 October 1980, c. 145]: The following reductions have been made in the collection and publication of statistics by my department since May 1979:

  • (i) Cancellation of the censuses of employment for 1979 and 1980.
  • (ii) Discontinuation of the April survey of earnings and hours of manual workers in selected industries except for the aerospace industry.
  • (iii) Discontinuation of the January survey of earnings by occupation in the shipbuilding and chemicals industries.
  • (iv) Reduction in the sample size of the October survey of earnings and hours of manual workers, resulting in reduced detail of the published data.
  • (v) Discontinuation of compilation and publication of aggregate changes in manual wage rates.
  • (vi) Suspension of work on the "Yearbook of Labour Statistics"
  • (vii) Transfer of responsibility for the survey of occupations in the engineering industry to the Engineering Industry Training Board.

In addition, various other smaller reductions and improvements in efficiency have been made. Further reductions are being considered in view of the need for additional economies in civil service manpower and proposals are expected from Sir Derek Rayner's current review of Government statistical services.

For most of the reductions listed above, no information will be available in the same form from another source. However, results will continue to be available from the survey of occupations in engineering and, in the case of earnings information data will be available from the remaining surveys but for a different time in the year.

It is estimated that the above reductions yield a net saving to my department of well over £3 million since May 1979, most of which is attributable to the cancellation of the censuses of employment.

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