HC Deb 27 October 2003 vol 412 cc9-10WS
Mr. Nigel Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will amend the requirement for companies to submit provisional accounts to the National Statistical Office before those accounts have been audited; and if she will make a statement on the purpose of this requirement. [134237]

Ruth Kelly

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Nigel Jones, dated 27 October 2003: As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the submission of provisional accounts to the Office for National Statistics before they have been audited. (134237) There is no requirement for companies to submit provisional accounts to the Office for National Statistics. Under the Statistics of Trade Act, 1947 companies are required to reply to questions in certain business surveys from the Office for National Statistics, which can require information on a company's performance that is drawn from its accounts prior to auditing. These surveys are essential to the production of timely economic statistics that allow the Government, the Bank of England and businesses to base key decisions on the latest information. ONS works to minimise the burden placed upon businesses by the requirement to respond to our surveys. Smaller businesses are selected for survey samples on a rotational basis, to ensure that the burden of compliance is shared as evenly as possible. ONS works within an annual compliance cost limit, and produces an annual Compliance Plan which is approved by our Minister.