Sir: You are quite right to highlight the issue of the standard of government statistics, and I would strongly support measures to improve their quality and coverage.

An example of how this can be achieved is provided by the recently developed series on Households Below Average Income, which has considerably improved our knowledge about the situation of people living on low incomes. This was brought about in part because the Analytical Services Division of the Department of Social Security initiated consultations with academic and other researchers. This provides a model which could be followed in other developments.

Yours sincerely, A. B. ATKINSON Oxford 19 December