Letter: Honest statistics

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The Independent Culture
Honest statistics

Sir: Two cheers for your "Outlook" item on the Office for National Statistics (16 February). I'd offer a third if you'd promote the issue to your front page as this is a matter of great importance.

As a small but frequent customer of ONS, I am well aware of their shortcomings, most of which seem to me to stem from inadequate resources and an overstretched staff. Despite this, I have found ONS staff to be unfailingly courteous, friendly and helpful.

As they are disinterested public servants, I have no inhibitions about discussing my business needs and plans with them in detail: I could not have such confidence in a private sector organisation which might be or become a competitor.

I hope that you will continue to campaign to keep ONS firmly within the public service, where it belongs, and that you will give the matter more prominence. The Government should not be allowed to get away with a quiet, unnoticed privatisation to save a little money when the real answer is to spend a little more.

PETER GRESHAM

Urbecon Ltd

Social and Economic Research & Consultancy

London W14

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