Sex and drugs worth more to UK economy than rock and roll

Tim Wallace
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Cannabis adds an estimated £828m to UK GDP (Source: Getty)
Britain’s economy gets a £10bn boost every year from sex and drugs, official figures show today – far outweighing rock and roll’s (and other music’s) £3.5bn contribution.
Drugs add £4.43bn to GDP, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates, while prostitution adds £5.27bn, a total of £9.7bn per year.
By contrast, UK Music believes the industry adds just £3.5bn to the economy.
As a result, drugs, sex and rock and roll combined boost Britain by £13.2bn per year.
Crack contributes the most, adding £1.53bn to GDP. Powder cocaine comes second at £1.04bn, with cannabis in third place, contributing £828m.
The ONS put the most work into its cannabis figure, as it is the only drug where it considered the costs like buying seeds and powering heaters and lamps.
Similarly it has been able to estimate the costs and revenues of prostitution based on figures from Holland, where the industry is more open.
These figures can only be rough estimates – by their nature black market transactions are going to be hard for officials to measure.
Even more public economic activity is difficult to track correctly.
The prostitution and drugs numbers are only being added to UK GDP by the ONS because a new set of EU data rules are being introduced to make stats more comparable across nations.
The full changes will be in place by September and are expected to add four to five per cent to GDP.
Today’s announcements account for about half of that, amounting to roughly £33bn of economic activity across business investment, firms’ stock building and charities serving households, as well as some black market activity.

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