Posts by Jonathan Athow

‘No part of the economy remains untouched’: update on how the ONS is measuring the impact of COVID-19

Soon after the pandemic began, Jonathan Athow wrote here about challenges the ONS would face in measuring its effect on the UK economy. Since then the first official data has revealed the scale of the immediate impact. As more data comes on stream, here he updates on the continuing work to ensure the ONS is able to paint the most accurate picture possible of these dramatic recent changes. 

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Meeting the challenge of measuring the economy through the COVID-19 Pandemic

The developing Covid-19 pandemic has led to new challenges for us, such as how to collect information with many shops closed, businesses ceasing to trade and no interviewers to knock on doors. The situation continues to evolve, and even now, the economy is operating very differently to how it did just a matter of weeks ago. Jonathan Athow explains how we are addressing some of the known – and the new – challenges, including highlighting how we will be collecting and publishing some of our key indicators in the weeks and months ahead.

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It’s indestructible – but can we always believe in (the UK trade figures with the disaggregated effect of the international trade in non-monetary) GOLD?

Gold, in addition to being a hit song by Spandau Ballet, is widely used as a store of value. London is one of the global centres of trading in this commodity, meaning it is an important business for the UK. For many countries the effect of gold on their trade figures is small, but the prominence of the industry in London means it can have a sizeable impact on the UK’s trade figures.

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How EU contributions are calculated

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?

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