ONS shifts data release schedule to help confused MPs

 
Catherine Neilan
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Theresa May Takes Prime Minister's Questions
"There is a risk that these detailed statistics are not fully understood by parliamentarians on both sides of the House" (Source: Getty)

The ONS is shifting the day it releases certain monthly data after concerns that the data was "not fully understood" by MPs before being debated in the House of Commons.

The statistical body will now publish its regular labour market update on a Tuesday, instead of a Wednesday, to give politicians a chance to more thoroughly get acquainted with the details before they begin the weekly bunfight that is Prime Minister's Questions.

The ONS said today: "Publication of labour market statistics on the day of Prime Minister’s Questions – one of the most important and most widely covered parliamentary occasions – means there is a risk that these detailed statistics are not fully understood by Parliamentarians on both sides of the House before they can be debated. This reduces the public value of these statistics.

"Labour market statistics are some of the most high-profile statistics published by ONS, as they directly reflect the economic situation of people throughout the UK. These statistics are also complicated and multi-faceted: they include a wealth of information on national trends in employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, developments in wages and information on local labour market changes. There is also a strong interest in the position of overseas workers in the workforce.

"To ensure that there is greater time to understand these statistics and promote public debate and scrutiny, we are bringing forward publication of labour market statistics from Wednesdays to Tuesdays."

Last week the Prime Minister was rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for her "selective misuse" of A&E figures for NHS Wales.

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