HC Deb 15 October 1991 vol 196 cc113-4W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will detail the changes recently made on proposals for the Central Statistical Office to improve the accuracy and reliability of its work.

Mr. Maples

[holding answer 14 October 1991]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 13 May 1991 at col. 19.

The Central Statistical Office is continuing to implement the package of measures to improve the reliability of economic data which the then Chancellor of the Exchequer announced to the House of Commons on 17 May 1990.

Latest economic statistics are benefiting from the inclusion of results from the following new inquiries:

  1. (i) the annual share register survey on holdings of shares by economic sectors;
  2. (ii) the strengthened statutory quarterly inquiries into stocks and capital expenditure;
  3. (iii) the statutory and expanded quarterly overseas direct investment inquiry;
  4. (iv) the statutory quarterly overseas trade in services inquiry;
  5. (v) the trade valuation survey;
  6. (vi) the statutory financial assets and liabilities survey to industrial and commercial companies;
  7. (vii) the statutory quarterly profits inquiry to industrial and commercial companies.

The benefits of other projects will be feeding through into national accounts estimates over the next 12 months or so. These include, for example, new statutory inquiries

Monthly interest payment1
Region Average new building society mortgages Quarter 2, 1988 £ June 19882 £ Current3 £ Increase £
Northern region 22,200 135.98 158.87 22.89
Yorkshire and Humberside 23,000 140.88 164.59 23.71
East Midlands 27,000 165.38 193.22 27.84
East Anglia 34,800 222.95 260.49 37.54
Greater London 54,900 387.10 452.28 65.18
South East 44,500 302.17 353.04 50.87
South West 34,900 223.77 261.44 37.67
West Midlands 28,100 172.11 201.09 28.98
North West 24,300 148.84 173.90 25.06
Wales 23,900 146.39 171.03 24.64

into the turnover of service trades launched earlier this year and the new quarterly labour force survey to he launched early next year.

Further improvements should also come from proposals for future developments outlined in the summer 1991 issue of the Treasury Bulletin including:

  1. (i) developments of the balance of payments estimates following a review of these statistics;
  2. (ii) studies of the transactions of financial institutions aimed at reduction of the imbalances within the sectoral accounts;
  3. (iii) developments in the main registers used for economic statistics and integration of the separate registers maintained by Central Statistical Office and Department of Environment on construction businesses.

Proposals are also being considered for improvements to early estimates including those series contributing to estimates of consumers' expenditure and series used to compile estimates of output of the economy.

The Government attach great importance to the need for reliable economic statistics and will consider further measures to maintain and improve the quality of economic data as the need arises.