HM Treasury  

ONS awarded £9m to improve economic work

ONS awarded £9m to improve economic work

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is set to receive a funding boost to develop "cutting-edge" methodologies for measuring the performance of the UK economy. 

Chancellor Philip Hammond awarded a sum of £9m to the ONS yesterday (April 11), following an independent review in 2016 of how the ONS could adapt to the digital economy. 

The funding will be used to implement a ‘double deflation’ methodology of calculating gross domestic product (GDP), bringing the ONS in line with international standards. 

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This method represents a fundamental change to the way GDP is calculated by bringing together existing data and making better use of data on price changes. 

The government money will also go towards the development of a range of ‘super fast’ indicators of economic activity and the training of 500 government data scientists by 2021. 

Mr Hammond said: "Our modern economy is constantly evolving so it is vital we have the data and tools to understand it.

"Funding for new data scientists, improving our statistics and harnessing the power of big data will help us to quickly identify and address the challenges of the new economy and seize the opportunities that lie ahead."

John Pullinger, national statistician, added: "Recent investment in the ONS has driven some important new developments in the measurement of our rapidly evolving economy.

"The continuing support of HM Treasury will enable the next stage in our transformation of the UK’s key economic indicators."

Yesterday’s funding announcement brings the government’s total investment in the ONS since 2016 to £25m. 

Over the past three years, when the review recommendations were published, it has established an Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence to deliver research on how to measure the modern, digital economy. 

It has also introduced the regular publication of faster indicators of economic activity, developed existing statistics such as GDP estimates, and improved trade and productivity data.