HC Deb 08 December 1986 vol 107 cc22-5W
Mr. Gould

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if, in respect of the statistics kept and published by his Department, he will publish in the Official Report any changes since 1979 in (a) the statistical series which are published, including those which have been introduced and those which have been dropped, (b) the basis on which any elements in the statistics are estimated, calculated or presented, (c) the periods over which, and the dates on which the series are collected or published and (d) any other respects in the ways in which the statistics are collected, recorded presented, evaluated or published; and if he will explain the reasons for any such changes.

Mr. Alan Clark

[pursuant to his reply, 3 December 1986; c. 634–35]: Changes in the basis of compilation, presentation and publication of statistical series are made from time to time in response to the Government's requirements for statistical information, changes in the administration systems on which some series are based, the development of new statistical techniques and technological developments affecting the compilation and dissemination of statistical data. When such changes are made they are fully documented in the relevant statistical publication.

During the period in question the most major and widespread change to statistical series has been the change from the 1968 to the 1980 standard industrial classification and the rebasing of index numbers on to 1980=100. In addition, the more significant changes to this Department's statistical series are listed in table 1. Tables 2 and 3 show statistical inquiries which have been discontinued or introduced since 1979.

TABLE 1 Regular statistical series with significant changes since 1979
Series Nature of changes References
Quarterly sales by Manufacturers 1981—major restructuring to exclude small firms from the Quarterly Sales Inquiry Individual Business Monitors
1986—minor restructuring. Changes to inquiry cut-offs. Two industries discontinued and five quarterly inquiries made annual British Business 16 August 1986
1986—introduction of periodic topping-up inquiry to improve the estimates of quarterly sales British Business 16 August 1986
Quarterly Stocks 1986—coverage of results expanded to encompass all industries Prime Minister's Review Report1, Press Notices, and British Business 26 September 1986
Quarterly Capital Expenditure 1986—coverage of results expanded to encompass all industries Prime Minister's Review Report1, Press Notices, and British Business September 1986
Biennial Investment Intentions 1982—frequency reduced from triennial Rayner Report on DTI Statistical Services2
Annual Census of Production (Manufacturing) Fewer forms in most years due to intensified sampling Prime Minister's Review Report1, Business Monitors (PA series)
Annual Census of Production (Construction) Fewer questions in most years. Fewer forms in most years due to intensified sampling Prime Minister's Review Report1, Business Monitors (PA series)
Miscellaneous Monthly Inquiries 1981—reduction in number of monthly forms despatched
Monthly Inquiry into Iron Castings 1983—converted from monthly to quarterly basis British Business 19 July 1985
Retailing Inquiry 1981—the pattern was switched from a regular annual "full" inquiry to an alternating pattern of "full" and "slim-line" inquiries British Business 27 February 1981
1982—revised grossing methodology introduced Business Monitors SDQ25, 1982
Service Trades Inquiry 1981—frequency reduced from annual to biennial British Business 27 February 1981
1986—inquiry extended and strengthened Statistical News, February 1986
Property Inquiry 1981—frequency changed from annual to biennial British Business 27 February 1981
Quarterly Inquiry into Steel Stocks and Consumption 1984—reduced coverage to eliminate very small contributors. Number of questions reduced Prime Minister's Review Report1
Monthly carpet Production 1982—change of data source
1983—replacement of actual sales figures by an index
Monthly Footwear Inquiry 1981—introduction of monthly information on orders
Engineering Sales and Orders 1983—detailed quarterly publication suspended
1984—detailed monthly publication suspended
Overseas Trade Analysed in Terms of Industries 1983—change from 1968 to 1980 Standard Industrial Classification British Business 7 October 1983
Monthly Credit Business 1986—inclusion of running account agreements and credit advanced on bank credit cards to improve coverage of credit statistics Business Monitor SDM6, January to March 1986
Quarterly Assets and Liabilities of Credit Grantors 1983—coverage reduced to exclude companies which became part of the monetary sector at the end of 1982 Business Monitor SDQ7 for third quarter 1983
Annual Balance Sheet for Insurance Companies 1984—full balance sheet introduced replacing assets only to fill gaps in national and balance of payments accounts British Business 6 June 1986
Annual Overseas Direct Investment and Earnings 1984—inclusion of oil and insurance companies to improve coverage of direct investment in the balance of payments British Business 6 June 1986
Triennial Benchmark Inquiry into Expenditure and Employment in Industrial Research and Development 1986—frequency reduced to quadrennial with annual sample surveys to provide more up-to-date information on R and D.
Company Accounts Analysis 1982—expanded to cover small and unlisted companies Business Monitor MA3, twelfth issue February 1982

Series Nature of changes References
Company Liquidity Survey 1985—results grossed up to provide estimates covering all large industrial and commercial companies British Business 31 May 1985
Insolvency Statistics 1980—Monthly estimates introduced British Business 22 August 1980
United Kingdom Visible Trade 1983—rebasing onto 1980 British Business 23 September 1983
1981—revised seasonal adjustment procedures Economic Trends February 1981


1 All regular surveys to businesses are reviewed once every five years under an instruction from the Prime Minister in 1981. The review reports are published.

2 An article in British Business (27 February 1981) described in general terms the effects on DTI statistics of implementing the Rayner Review.

Table 2 Regular statistical series discontinued since 1979
Quarterly survey of UK company sources and uses of funds (1980)
Monthly inquiry into export prices (1980)
Monthly rubber stocks and consumption (1980)
Quarterly inquiry into catering turnover (1980)
Quarterly inquiry into motor traders' turnover (1980)
Annual and quarterly series on international trade and credit extended and received and direct exports (1982)
Monthly inquiry into made-up clothing (1985)
Monthly admissions and takings for cinemas (1985)
Quarterly inquiry into oils and fats in soapmaking (1985)
Quarterly inquiry into raw jute (1985)
Monthly inquiry into paper and board (1985)
Monthly inquiry into waste paper (1985)
Quarterly inquiry into pulp (1985)
Quarterly inquiry into exports of books and periodicals (1985)
Annual inquiry into the film exhibition industry (1985)

Table 3 Regular statistical series introduced since 1979
Quarterly inquiry into engineering sales and orders (1981)
All stocks price index (1981)
Annual income and expenditure of pension funds (1982)
Quinquennial inquiry into private generation of electricity (1983)
Aerospace and electronics cost indices, simplified version (1983)
Annual income and expenditure of insurance companies (1984)