Written statement to Parliament

Correction to the written answer to parliamentary question 31081

Provides corrected figures for the number of people who habitually travel to a place of work.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon Norman Baker

I regret to inform the house that there was an inaccuracy in the answer I gave to parliamentary question 31081 on 16 December, Official Report, col 866-7W, about the numbers of persons who habitually travel to a place of work. The table, with corrected figures for 2005, is detailed below:

Numbers of people by mode of travel and location of workplace

Area Mode of travel October to December 20051 (thousands) October to December 2006 (thousands) October to December 2007 (thousands) October to December 2008 (thousands) October to December 2009 (thousands)
England Train2 1,017 970 1,072 1,084 1,040
England Car3 15,649 14,605 14,518 14,281 13,998
England Bus and coach4 1,656 1,562 1,526 1,477 1,331
East Midlands Train2 - - 12 13 13
East Midlands Car 1,393 1,317 1,321 1,341 1,279
East Midlands Bus and coach4 90 99 120 97 97

Source: ONS labour force survey (LFS)


1 Following realignment from seasonal to calendar quarters, data for December is assumed to follow the same pattern as that of October and November

2 Includes railway trains but excludes underground train and light railway or tram

3 Includes car, van, minibus and works van

4 Includes bus, coach and private bus

An investigation has shown that the error was due to a change in the labour force survey methodology introduced by ONS in early 2006. Specifically, the survey changed from providing data for non-standard ‘seasonal’ quarters (i.e. ‘Autumn’ = September to November, ‘Winter’ = December to February, etc.) to using more standard calendar quarters from this point. As a result of this change, the department’s estimates for the period October to December in 2005 are actually based on only 2 months of data (October to November) instead of 3 months in all later years. The 2005 estimates given in the answer should therefore have been adjusted upwards by a factor of 1.5 to take account of this difference. However, this adjustment was not applied and the error was not spotted before the draft answer was submitted.

Published 11 January 2011