Dear Ms Thornberry,
Thank you for your letter of 15 May to Professor Sir Ian Diamond about statements by Ministers on employment in export-intensive industries, which used estimates made by the Fraser of Allander Institute for a Department for International Trade (DIT) report.
We have reviewed the examples you gave and consider that Ministers have stated accurately the numbers of jobs in export-intensive industries in particular geographies as estimated in the report. Any caveats would have been difficult to state in oral answers.
We also believe the use of the constituency level figures by MPs is consistent with the report and the associated DIT press release. It would though have been desirable in this written material to have been clearer about the limitations of the data and their age, and the fact that some are experimental.
We are keen to encourage the development of statistics valuable to decision-makers at national and local levels and the rationale provided by DIT for releasing statistics at the local level is compelling. OSR will discuss with DIT statisticians how the communication of these statistics can be improved to provide better explanations of the limitations of this worthwhile research.
Sir David Norgrove