§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Defence 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. Stanley
Before 1980 information on the strength of the armed forces, defence budget expenditure and defence balance of payments was presented in annexes to the "Statement on the Defence Estimates". Additional information on accommodation, aircraft accidents, health, land holdings and qualifications was published in the "Annual Abstract of Statistics" by the Central Statistical Office.
In 1980 defence statistics were published for the first time in a separate volume (volume II) of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates" and the coverage was extended to include data on accommodation, aircraft accidents, civilian manpower, defence services, education, entertainment, equipment, fishery protection, health, HM 207W dockyards, hydrographic services, land holdings, Meteorological Office activities, royal ordnance factories, research and development, salaries and trade. The range of statistical information published has been broadly the same since 1980, but amendments to the detailed tables have been made, reflecting changes in the administrative systems on which the data are based, editorial decisions, and suggestions for improvements including those contained in the reports of the House of Commons Defence Committee.
The content of the quarterly tri-service manpower press release was changed in June 1979 to include outflow data and to provide a uniform coverage of all categories of service personnel, since when there has been little amendment.
No major changes in presentation are planned.