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Changes to National Accounts

In September 2014, ONS will publish revised figures for the UK National Accounts, including gross domestic product (GDP) and balance of payments.

Changes are being made in line with international standards adopted by all EU member states and with worldwide best practice. These, and additional improvements we are making, will ensure that our National Accounts continue to provide a reliable framework for analysing the UK economy and comparing it with other countries.

The improvements can be broadly split into three categories:

  • methodological improvements introduced through the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA 1995). These are also known as GNI reservations
  • implementing the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010) and latest Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6) to meet European regulations. These will bring EU standards into line with those in the international System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA 2008) already adopted in other parts of the world, including Canada, the USA and Australia
  • other regular improvements to national accounts, such as updating the producer price series and moving forward the benchmarking year from 2010 to 2011

The changes are necessary to ensure that global national accounting standards are consistent, and that they reflect economic and technological developments at home, in the EU and worldwide.

The EU will move to the new standards at the end of September 2014, when revised National Accounts for all member states will be published simultaneously. In the UK, these will appear in the Blue Book 2014.

What will the improvements mean in practice?

Changes in the treatment of some activities (such as research and development and military expenditure) alongside the inclusion of previously uncounted ones (such as illegal activities) will raise the level of annual current price GDP. This increase is currently estimated to be between 2.6 and 4.6 per cent, though the impact will vary across individual years.

Changes in the recording of pension entitlements will raise the savings ratio by an estimated 5 per cent.

In the Blue Book, there will be noticeable changes to table layouts, the addition of new time series data and the removal of others, and changes to some series identifiers.

You can find out more about the individual changes from a series of articles being published in the run up to September. If you would like to discuss the changes, or find out more about planned articles or events, please contact

Series of National Accounts articles:

Release date Topic
16 May 2014 Latest developments to National Accounts
29 May 2014 Impact of ESA95 Changes on Current Price GDP Estimates
10 June 2014 Impact of ESA10 Changes on Current Price GDP Estimates
30 June 2014 Impact of National Accounts improvements on headline GDP growth (chained volume measure)
9 July 2014 Summary of ESA10 and BPM6 changes on Sector and Financial Accounts
23 July 2014 The impact on GDP expenditure and income components of upcoming improvements to National Accounts
12 August 2014 Further detail on expenditure components of GDP as a result of upcoming improvements to National Accounts for the period 1997 to 2009
3 September 2014 Impact of Upcoming Improvements on Estimates of Real and Nominal Annual and Quarterly GDP, 1997 to 2012
3 September 2014

Detailed assessment of changes to Sector and Financial Accounts 1997 to 2009

3 September 2014 Impacts of changes to the measurement of the to Balance of Payments as a result of the introduction of BPM6
17 September 2014 Reminder and summary of the upcoming changes 1997 to 2012
17 September 2014 Detailed assessment of changes to Sector and Financial Accounts 2010 to 2012
17 September 2014 Detailed assessment of changes to Balance of Payments 2010 to 2012
30 September 2014 Publication of quarterly national accounts data consistent with Blue Book and Pink Book 2014
31 October 2014 Publication of Blue Book and Pink Book 2014


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