HC Deb 01 March 1984 vol 55 cc289-90W
Mr. Gould

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the delay in publishing the trade figures has more than doubled since 1979.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

Publication of the trade figures (in the monthly balance of payments press notice) is some 10 days later than in 1979 mainly because of the introduction of new processing procedures by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in 1982. The change to a less labour-intensive system followed a Rayner scrutiny of the work of the Statistical Office. Although requiring a somewhat longer time scale for each monthly cycle it has made possible, by greater use of computer facilities, a substantial reduction in staff numbers and a significant saving in costs.

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