HC Deb 10 December 1986 vol 107 cc155-8W
Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list all the changes that have been made since 1979 in his Department in the presentation of statistical information; and what further changes are now planned.

Mr. Scott

The following changes have been made by the Northern Ireland Departments and the Northern Ireland Office.

(i) Department of Finance and Personnel

  1. 1. 1979—The Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey discontinued as an Her Majesty's Stationery Office publication.
  2. 2. 1980—Revised estimates of Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation for private sector introduced.
  3. 3. 1981—Northern Ireland Family Expenditure tables published in Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics.
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  5. 4. The "Digest of Statistics Northern Ireland" discontinued in 1981 and replaced by the "Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics" in 1982. In the interim a publication entitled "Social and Economic Trends in Northern Ireland" was produced.
  6. 5. 1982 — Estimates of Consumers' expenditure introduced.
  7. 6. 1983—Estimates of number of operatives in Construction Industry by type of work discontinued.
  8. 7. 1983 — Estimates of value of output and of new orders in Construction Industry discontinued.
  9. 8. 1984 — Monitors reporting preliminary results of newly instituted Continuous Household Survey (NI) published. Also a specific monitor on Religion. Data from the Continuous Household Survey has, since becoming available, been incorporated in the Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics.
  10. 9. 1984 — Revised index of Construction Industry output introduced, old index discontinued.
  11. 10 1984—Level of detail in Personal Income Statistics increased.
  12. 11. 1984—Industrial data released on new Standard Industrial Classification.
  13. 12. 1985—Revised estimates of Consumer expenditure introduced.
  14. 13. 1986—The first in a quarterly series of House Price Monitors published. It reports changes in house prices on a quarterly and annual basis.

(ii) Department of Economic Development


  1. 1. 1981 — Changed benefit regulations mean that June school leavers cannot claim benefit until September when they are included in the count. For June, July and August each year a special count of school leavers registered at Jobmarkets is provided.
  2. 2. 1981 — Introduction of long-term rate of supplementary benefit for males aged 60+ on supplementary benefit for over 1 year reduced the unemployment count.
  3. 3. 1982 — Changes of basis for unemployment statistics from registrants at Employment Service Offices (including full-time non-claimants and excluding severely disabled) to claimants of benefit at DHSS Social Security Offices
  4. 4. 1983–1983 budget measures gave males aged 60 and over:—
    1. (a) the long term rate of supplementary benefit without waiting for 1 year
    2. (b) automatic National Insurance credits without signing on. Such persons were therefore excluded from the unemployment count.
  5. 5. 1984 — Unemployment figures for the revised Travel-to-Work areas produced.
  6. 6. 1985 — Reconciliation of Department of Economic Development computer records with DHSS Social Security Office manual records reduced the unemployment count.
  7. 7. 1986 — Unemployment figures compiled each month 2 weeks later than previously.
  8. 8. 1986—Additional unemployment rate introduced based on employees in employment, unemployed, self-employed and armed forces ("the working population").


9. 1980 — The collection of information on Northern Ireland exports to overseas markets, as part of the Annual Census of Population, discontinued.

10. 1981—The Northern Ireland Index of Production produced on a quarterly instead of a monthly basis, at the same time the production and publication of quarterly Production Sales information ceased.

11. 1983—The Northern Ireland Index of Production published with 1980 as the base year.


12. 1983—Statistics on redundancy rebate payments ceased to include redundancies in respect of which rebate was not payable

13. 1984—Confirmed redundancy series introduced.


14. 1981—Seasonally adjusted series introduced.

15. 1984—Series for unfilled vacancies published.


16. 1983—Northern Ireland Training executive reclassified to Public Sector.

17. 1983 — Quarterly estimates of employees in employment revised back to September 1979 following production of results from the 1981 Employment Census.

18. 1984 — British Telecom and Ulster Polytechnic reclassified from Public to Private sector.


19. 1983 — Since 1982 gross weekly and hourly earnings results have been published for males and females on adult rates. Prior to this results were published for men aged 21 and over and women aged 18 and over.


20. 1979, 1981—In these years full-time students and those on Government Training Schemes were shown as economically inactive.

21. 1981, 1983, 1984—Labour supply estimates have been revised as Labour Force Survey Results became available.

22. 1984—Labour Force Survey changed from a biannual to annual survey.

23. 1985—Persons on government training schemes shown as employees, and students aged 16 and over recorded as employees if they did any paid work and unemployed if they were seeking work and were available to start within two weeks.

(iii) Department of Health and Social Services

  1. 1. 1981—"Hospital Statistics" first published.
  2. 2. 1981—"Trends in Health and Personal Social Services" first published.
  3. 2. 1983—"Northern Ireland Social Security Statistics" first published.
  4. 3. 1983—"Health and Personal Social Services Statistics for Northern Ireland"—contents reduced to exclude statistical material published elsewhere.

(iv) Department of Education

1979:—The single annual publication of statistics covering Northern Ireland education sectors abolished and replaced by a series of discrete statistical bulletins issued either on an annual basis or bi-annual basis.

(v) Department of Agriculture

  • 1980:—Basis for increasing farm size from "standard man-days" to "European Size Units".
  • 1981: — The December Agricultural Census moved from a full census to a sample basis—the practice of publishing preliminary results discontinued and only final figures made available. The publication of County results discontinued.
  • Information on "minor" holdings began to be published. Information on poultry ceased to be collected in the April and August sample Censuses.
  • 1982:—Details regarding forestry in the "Annual Abstract of Statistics" expanded to include additional information on state and private forestry.
  • 1983:—Information on inputs, outputs and net farm income from the Farm Management Survey began to be published in the form of a Press Release.
  • 1986:—Aggregate Farming Income data began to be published separately.

(vi) Northern Ireland Office

  • 1981 — Statistics covering terrorist activity and the persons convicted of scheduled offences in Northern Ireland changed from quarterly to bi-annual publication in Hansard.
  • 1985:—"A Commentary on Northern Ireland. Crime Statistics" first published.

The following future changes are proposed:

(i) Department of Finance and Personnel

  1. 1. Presentation of Northern Ireland central government expenditure conforming with National Accounting conventions.
  2. 2. Revised estimates of value of output in Construction Industry to be introduced.
  3. 3. The Publication of Continuous Survey Reports.
  4. 4. The extension of monitors to cover Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey data.

(ii) Department of Economic Development

  1. 1. The "Employees in Employment" series for Northern Ireland to be revised back to 1981 in the light of the results of the 1984 Census of Employment.
  2. 2. It is intended to revise the allocation of agricultural workers between self-employment and employees in employment so that the methodology used in Northern Ireland conforms more closely with that in Great Britain.

(iii) Department of Health and Social Services

It is intended to change from a calendar year to a financial year basis for the presentation of health and social services statistics within the next 2 years.

(iv) Department of Agriculture

The Annual Report on the Sea and Inland fisheries of Northern Ireland to be amalgamated with the Annual General Report of the Department.