It’s well known that the Government has large amounts of debt, currently £1.8 trillion according to the headline measure. But what about other liabilities that are not included in this figure and what about all the assets the Government owns? Here, David Bailey sets out the way we measure it all and how the numbers are being improved.Read more
The subject of how much the UK pays to the EU has been debated widely. The numbers used are principally based on figures reported by the ONS in our annual publication ‘The UK Balance of Payments’ which is often referred to as the Pink Book. So how do UK contributions to the EU work, and what does the Pink Book say?Read more
Exports of services have for many decades made a large and positive contribution to the UK’s international trade balance. But unlike goods, which are relatively easy to count and value, the intangibility of services means their measurement has been less detailed. Now, thanks to a big expansion in our statistical coverage, ONS is shedding unprecedented new light on the subject.Read more
Productivity has been a topic of great interest in recent years, especially because of the well-known ‘productivity puzzle’ – the historically weak productivity growth in the UK since the economic downturn in 2008.
But if that is a puzzle, here is another one – how do you measure the productivity of public services, like education or healthcare, when they are provided for free? Since 2005, ONS has developed suitable measures for over half of public services, but there is still much to do. In this blog Josh Martin explains how the ONS measures the productivity of public services.Read more
ONS has embarked on an ambitious development programme to make sure we have the best possible data on the flow of imports and exports. While measuring trade in goods is relatively straightforward, tracking services is rather trickier. Here Sami Hamroush writes about the challenge of measuring so-called ‘modes of supply’ – the means by which services are exchanged across borders – and how this can reveal a sharper picture of the UK’s trade position.Read more