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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Series of National Accounts articles: