Chancellor George Osborne approves Sir Charlie Bean's shake up of UK economic statistics

Chris Papadopoullos
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The overhaul is aimed at modernising the way the UK collects and manages statistics (Source: Getty)

An overhaul of the way the UK collects and manages its economics data has been approved by the Treasury.

Plans for an Economics Centre of Excellence and Data Science Campus at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have been announced as part of the budget. Around £17m of investment will support the initiatives at headquarters of the ONS in Newport in South Wales over the next two years, the ONS said today.

It follows a review into UK statistics by Sir Charlie Bean, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England, who has described the current system as being "outdated".

“Today’s exciting announcement will greatly help ONS meet the challenges of measuring new forms of economic activity and give policy makers better insights into the UK economy,” said ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow.

Bean said:

I am delighted that HM Treasury and Cabinet Office have accepted my review’s recommendations in full. Now it’s time for ONS and the UK Statistics Authority to put forward a clear plan to implement these changes and transform economic statistics.

While I very much welcome the establishment of the data science hub and measurement centre, they are a necessary but not sufficient condition for raising the quality of UK economic statistics. Further complementary efforts must be taken to make fuller use of new and existing data sources, strengthen the existing governance arrangements, and refocus ONS culture to meet user needs better.

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