1. Main points

  • In 2014, the approximate Gross Value Added at basic prices (aGVA) of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy was estimated to be £1,104.6 billion. This amount represents the income of UK businesses, less the cost of goods and services consumed in its creation

  • Between 2013 and 2014, aGVA increased by 10.3% (£103.5 billion), the largest annual percentage increase since 1997 and a continuation of the recovery seen between 2009 and 2013. This was due to an increase in turnover combined with a small decrease in purchases. The decrease in purchases was mostly seen within Wholesale

  • With the exception of Production, all other sectors of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy saw growth in aGVA between 2013 and 2014

  • The Production sector, which accounts for just under a fifth (19.7%) of aGVA in the UK Non-Financial Business Economy, saw a decrease in aGVA of 0.4% (£0.9 billion) between 2013 and 2014, due to the Mining & quarrying section

  • Mining & quarrying turnover decreased by a greater amount than its purchases due to the fall in oil prices during 2014. This resulted in a fall of 30.7% (£7.3 billion) in its aGVA between 2013 and 2014 and was the reason for the fall in Production sector aGVA

  • The Non-Financial Service sector, which accounts for over half (55.2%) of aGVA in the UK Non-Financial Business Economy, contributed most to the increase in aGVA. The sector’s increase of 10.7% (£58.9 billion) between 2013 and 2014 was the fifth consecutive annual increase. The section making the largest contribution to growth was Professional, scientific & technical activities with a 14.7% (£18.9 billion) increase

  • The Distribution sector, which accounts for 17.1% of aGVA in the UK Non-Financial Business Economy, saw an increase in aGVA of 24.8% (£37.5 billion) between 2013 and 2014. This took aGVA to 19.7% (£31.0 billion) above the level seen in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn, for the first time. The division making the largest contribution to growth was Wholesale

  • The Construction sector, which accounts for 7.8% of aGVA in the UK Non-Financial Business Economy, saw an increase in aGVA of 9.8% (£7.7 billion) between 2013 and 2014. This is the fourth consecutive year of growth, taking the sector above the level seen in 2008 for the first time, by 1.8% (£1.5 billion)

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2. Overview

Estimates of the size and growth of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy for 2014 as measured by the Annual Business Survey (ABS), are presented in this release. It is the main resource for understanding the detailed structure, conduct and performance of businesses across the UK. The release covers the following sectors:

  • Non-Financial Services (includes professional, scientific, communication, administrative, transport, accommodation and food, private health and education, entertainment services)

  • Distribution (includes retail, wholesale and motor trades)

  • Production (includes manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, energy generation and supply, water and waste management)

  • Construction (includes civil engineering, house building, property development and specialised construction trades such as plumbers, electricians and plasterers)

  • part of Agriculture (includes agricultural support services and hunting), forestry and fishing

Together these industries represent the UK Non-Financial Business Economy and account for around two-thirds of the whole economy of the UK in terms of Gross Value Added. Public administration and defence, public sector health and education, finance, farming and households make up the rest of the whole UK economy and are not covered by this release.

Estimates published in this release include turnover, purchases, approximate Gross Value Added at basic prices (aGVA) and employment costs. All data are reported at current prices (effect of price changes not removed).

Where the economic downturn is mentioned it refers to the contraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that started in 2008, the year from which consistent ABS time series data are available. For more information about the ABS survey see the background notes.

The ABS has a wide range of uses: for example, ABS statistics are essential contributors to the UK National Accounts (174.2 Kb Pdf), including the measurement of GDP, they are supplied to Eurostat to meet the requirements of the European Structural Business Statistics (SBS) Regulation, and are used by the devolved administrations and central and local government to monitor and inform policy development.

The ABS also recently published its Exporters and Importers, Great Britain, 2014 and Business Ownership in the UK, 2013 releases and contributed to an adhoc release The Economic Performance of the UK’s Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Industry, Car Production. For other uses see background note 4.

Questions often asked of the ABS release are “‘What is aGVA?” and “How does the measure of aGVA differ from the GVA measure in the National Accounts?”. For an overview of aGVA please see our infographic “What is aGVA?”. National Accounts carry out coverage adjustments, conceptual adjustments and coherence adjustments. The National Accounts estimate of GVA uses input from a number of sources, and covers the whole UK economy, whereas ABS does not include farming, financial or public sectors and households. ABS total aGVA is around two-thirds of the National Accounts whole economy GVA because of these differences. For further information on aGVA, see background note 9. There is also the article “A Comparison between ABS and National Accounts Measures of Value Added (462.3 Kb Pdf)” which provides more detail.

We make every effort to provide informative commentary on the data in this release. Where possible, the commentary draws on evidence from businesses or other sources of information to help explain possible reasons behind the observed changes. However, in some places it can prove difficult to elicit detailed reasons for movements, for example, businesses may state a “change in the nature of business activity”. Consequently, it is not possible for all data movements to be fully explained.

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3. Your views matter

We constantly aim to improve this release and its associated commentary. We would welcome any feedback you might have, and would be particularly interested in knowing how you make use of these data to inform your work. Please contact us via email: abs@ons.gsi.gov.uk or telephone Jon Gough on +44 (0)1633 456720.

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4. Interactive wheel for the UK Non-Financial Business Economy

Use the Interactive wheel updated with the latest figures for 2014 to investigate which sectors contribute most to the UK Non-Financial Business Economy. Focus on the Business Economy as a whole or each sector and switch between aGVA, Turnover and Purchases. A non-functional screenshot of the wheel follows for illustration.

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5. UK Non-Financial Business Economy, Sections A to S (part)

In 2014, the income generated by businesses in the UK, less the cost of goods and services used to create this income was estimated to be £1,104.6 billion. This amount represents the approximate Gross Value Added at basic prices (aGVA) of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy. Between 2013 and 2014, aGVA increased by 10.3% (£103.5 billion), the largest annual percentage growth since 1997. This increase is a continuation of the recovery seen between 2009 and 2013 and takes aGVA to a level 21.4% (£194.9 billion) above that seen in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn.

The main components of aGVA are:

  1. turnover (the main component of income)

  2. purchases (the main component of the consumed goods and services)

The consecutive annual increases seen in aGVA follow a similar pattern of increases in both turnover and purchases. Turnover increased by 2.2% (£77.7 billion) between 2013 and 2014, while purchases of goods, materials and services decreased by 0.6% (£14.8 billion), resulting in a 10.3% growth in aGVA. As with aGVA, turnover and purchases were above levels seen in 2008 at the start of the economic downturn for the fourth consecutive year (see Figure 1).

The economic downturn and recovery described by the ABS between 2008 and 2014 is broadly in line with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures published in the National Accounts. Both the ABS aGVA estimates and the latest National Accounts GDP estimates (taken from the Quarterly National Accounts, Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015) show a fall between 2008 and 2009 and now 5 consecutive annual increases from 2009 to 2014 led by the Service sector.

A list of industries which are included in the ABS measure of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy can be found in background note 9.

With the exception of Production all other sectors of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy, as measured by the Annual Business Survey (ABS), saw growth in aGVA between 2013 and 2014 (see Figures 2 and 3).

Non-Financial Services, the largest industry sector of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy contributed most to the increase in aGVA. The Non-Financial Service sector aGVA rose by 10.7% (£58.9 billion) between 2013 and 2014, the fifth consecutive annual increase, taking aGVA to £609.2 billion.

The Production sector saw a decrease of 0.4% (£0.9 billion) in aGVA following a slight rise between 2012 and 2013. This decrease sees aGVA for the Production sector at £218.1 billion, just below the £222.5 billion seen in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn.

The Distribution sector aGVA rose by 24.8% (£37.5 billion) between 2013 and 2014. This increase took aGVA to £188.8 billion, which is above the level of £157.8 billion seen in 2008 for the first time.

The Construction sector experienced growth in aGVA for the fourth consecutive year, increasing by 9.8% (£7.7 billion) to £86.3 billion in 2014, which, like the Distribution sector is now above the level of £84.8 billion seen in 2008 for the first time.

The Agriculture (part), Forestry & Fishing sector experienced the largest percentage rise in aGVA of all the sectors, with a 15.7% (£0.3 billion) increase between 2013 and 2014. This second consecutive annual increase takes aGVA to £2.1 billion.

Non-Financial Services as a whole (Sections H to S) dominates the UK Non-Financial Business Economy in terms of aGVA. However, at the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) section level, Distribution (Section G) and Manufacturing (Section C within the Production sector) are the largest specific contributors followed by Professional, scientific & technical (Section M within the Non-Financial Services sector). Construction (Section F) also contributes more to aGVA than 7 of the 10 sections within Non-Financial Services (see Figure 4).

When analysing those sections which have made the largest contributions to aGVA growth between 2013 and 2014 (see Figure 5), Distribution (Section G) is the largest, contributing 36.3% of the total aGVA growth. This is followed by 2 sections in the Non-Financial Service sector with a combined contribution of 30.1%:

  • professional, scientific & technical (Section M)

  • administrative & support services (Section N)

Only Mining & quarrying (Section B) in the Production sector is showing a fall in aGVA for 2014, decreasing by 30.7% (£7.3 billion) compared with 2013.

Further details on these industry sections can be found in the subsequent chapters which describe the Non-Financial Services sector (Sections H to S), the Production sector (Sections B to E including Manufacturing), the Distribution sector (Section G), the Construction sector (Section F) and the Agriculture (part), Forestry & Fishing sector (Section A).

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6. Non-Financial Service Industries, Sections H to S (part)

The Non-Financial Service sector contributed £609.2 billion, over a half (55.2%) of the estimated aGVA total of £1,104.6 billion in 2014 for the UK Non-Financial Business Economy.

Between 2013 and 2014, Non-Financial Service's turnover increased at a higher rate than purchases, 6.3% (£71.0 billion) compared with 2.6% (£15.5 billion). Together with a rise in work of a capital nature this resulted in aGVA rising by 10.7% (£58.9 billion). This is the fifth consecutive year of growth in aGVA for the sector, following the fall between 2008 and 2009, (see Figure 6).

All of the sections within the Non-Financial Service sector continued to see increases in aGVA between 2013 and 2014 (see Figures 7 and 8).

Those sections which have made the largest contributions to growth are:

  • professional, scientific & technical (Section M)

  • administrative & support services (Section N)

  • information & communication (Section J)

These sections, which together accounted for 69.5% (£40.9 billion) of the increase in Non-Financial Service sector aGVA, are described, together with some of the other prominent sections, in more detail after Figure 7b.

Professional, Scientific & Technical, Section M

Turnover in Professional, scientific & technical increased by 8.8% (£20.1 billion) between 2013 and 2014, with purchases increasing by 0.6% (£0.6 billion). The resulting growth in aGVA of 14.7% (£18.9 billion), meant aGVA remained above the level reported in 2008 for the fourth consecutive year.

This broad section, which covers a range of industries from Legal & accounting activities to Advertising & market research and Veterinary activities, saw increases in aGVA in all its divisions between 2013 and 2014. Those divisions within the section, having the largest impact on aGVA growth (with a combined 56.1% (£10.6 billion) contribution) between 2013 and 2014 were:

  • activities of head offices; management consultancy (Division 70)

  • other professional, scientific & technical activities (Division 74)

The growth shown within the ABS links to the Management Consultancies Association summary report for 2015 which reported strong growth in 2014 with an 8.4% increase in fee income.

Administrative & Support Services, Section N

Between 2013 and 2014, Administrative & support services saw turnover rise by 8.8% (£16.4 billion), while purchases increased by 5.2% (£4.8 billion) leading to an aGVA increase of 12.7% (£12.2 billion).

Two divisions contributed to over three-fifths (61.5%) of the growth within Administrative & support services:

  • employment activities (Division 78) with an aGVA increase of 14.0% (£3.9 billion)

  • office administrative, office support & other business support activities (Division 82) with an aGVA increase of 15.4% (£3.6 billion)

A growth in this sector was supported by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation report for 2013 to 2014 which indicated a strong increase in employment activities, along with our Workforce Jobs figures which showed a growth of 2.4% in 2014.

Information & Communication , Section J

Turnover in Information & communication increased by 5.2% (£10.2 billion) between 2013 and 2014 which, coupled with a smaller 2.8% (£2.8 billion) increase in purchases, resulted in an increase in aGVA of 10.0% (£9.8 billion) between 2013 and 2014.

Those divisions having the largest impact on aGVA growth, with a combined 76.7% (£7.5 billion) contribution between 2013 and 2014 were:

  • telecommunications (Division 61), with an aGVA increase of 17.2% (£4.4 billion)

  • computer programming, consultancy & related activities (Division 62), with an aGVA increase of 7.1% (£3.1 billion)

Division 62, which includes the development of mobile phone applications, has shown consistent growth of above 7.0% in each of the last 3 years. The addition of mobile phone applications to the CPI basket in 2011 and increase in internet use (2014) on mobile devices indicates this activity has been increasing in importance in recent years The Bank of England’s agents’ summary of business conditions suggests that some of the increase in demand for IT services may have come “from the finance sector and increased interest in cloud services from most sectors”.

Transport & Storage, Section H

Turnover in Transport & storage increased by 5.5% (£8.6 billion) between 2013 and 2014, with purchases rising by 3.3% (£3.0 billion) resulting in a 7.3% (£5.2 billion) increase in aGVA.

Two divisions contributed 87.9% (£4.5 billion) of the growth within Transport & storage:

  • land transport & transport via pipelines (Division 49)

  • water transport (Division 50)

The growth in Division 49 was potentially influenced by the fall in oil prices towards the end of 2014,as reported in our Economic Review September 2014 and also supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in Table 4.1.2 of their monthly release on fuel prices.

Accommodation & Food, Section I

Turnover in Accommodation & Food increased by 6.6% (£5.0 billion) between 2013 and 2014, with purchases rising by 3.0% (£1.1 billion) resulting in an 11.7% (£4.5 billion) increase in aGVA.

The division having the largest impact on aGVA growth was Accommodation (Division 55) with 24.4% (£2.7 billion) growth between 2013 and 2014.

Education, Section P – private provision only

Turnover in Education increased by 11.3% (£4.0 billion) between 2013 and 2014, with purchases rising by 3.8% (£0.8 billion) resulting in a 22.7% (£3.6 billion) increase in aGVA.

The part of private education having the largest impact on aGVA growth was Tertiary education (Class 85.42) with a 32.5% (£1.8 billion) increase.

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7. Production Industries, Sections B to E

The Production sector in 2014 provided £218.1 billion, just under a fifth (19.7%) of the estimated aGVA total of £1,014.6 billion for the UK Non-Financial Business Economy.

Between 2013 and 2014, Production sector turnover remained relatively unchanged (a small decrease of £0.3 billion), while purchases increased by 0.2% (£0.9 billion). Together with increases in stock levels and changes in taxes, this led to a decrease in aGVA of 0.4% (£0.9 billion), which followed a 1.8% rise between 2012 and 2013. The decrease in 2014 sees Production sector aGVA just £4.4 billion below the level in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn (see Figure 9).

Production is the only sector within the UK Non-Financial Business Economy showing a fall in aGVA between 2013 and 2014. This is primarily due to the impact of Mining & quarrying (Section B) which saw aGVA fall by 30.7% (£7.3 billion), see Figure 11. All other sections within the Production sector (Manufacturing, Energy generation & supply and Water & waste management), saw a combined rise in aGVA between 2013 and 2014 of 3.3% (£6.4 billion). The levels of aGVA, turnover and purchases for these sections, both combined and individually in 2014, are above the levels seen in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn.

Manufacturing (Section C), which contributes 72.1% of Production sector aGVA, saw a rise in aGVA of 1.6% (£2.5 billion) between 2013 and 2014.

Over the same period Energy generation & supply (Section D) and Water & waste management (Section E) also saw increases in aGVA of 9.6% (£2.3 billion) and 9.8% (£1.7 billion) respectively while Mining & quarrying (Section B) saw a decrease of 30.7% (£7.3 billion), see Figures 10 and 11.

Manufacturing, Section C

Between 2013 and 2014, Manufacturing saw increases of 0.5% (£2.5 billion) in turnover and 0.3% (£1.1 billion) in purchases which, together with rises in stock levels and changes in taxes, contributed to an increase in aGVA of 1.6% (£2.5 billion).

Those divisions contributing most to the growth in Manufacturing aGVA were:

  • manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers (Division 29) with an aGVA increase of 30.7% (£4.1 billion)

  • manufacture of Machinery & equipment n.e.c. (Division 28) with an aGVA increase of 14.2% (£1.8 billion)

  • manufacture of Fabricated metal products, except machinery & equipment (Division 25) with an aGVA increase of 9.6% (£1.4 billion)

These 3 divisions saw a combined increase in aGVA of £7.3 billion, which was offset by the £3.8 billion aGVA decrease in Manufacture of other transport equipment (Division 30).

As was the case in 2013, the increase in Division 29 for this year can again be attributed to the increase in production, sales and exports of cars, in particular high end and luxury vehicles.

Our Economic Performance of the UK’s Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Industry release says growth in this industry has been in large due to the continued growth exports of Motor Vehicles to countries outside the EU. The Non-EU export market has seen growth for the last 6 years. Exports to non-EU countries are growing at a faster rate than exports to EU countries, this strong demand for exported UK cars is confirmed by reports from the car manufacturing trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The SMMT report covering 2014 shows that the number of vehicles produced in the UK fell rapidly during the economic downturn, from 1.8 million in 2007 to 1.1 million in 2009. The industry has now partially recovered with 1.6 million vehicles being produced in 2014. Car output, the largest component of Division 29, rose to 1.53 million units, its highest level since 2007.

Other reasons cited by businesses as contributing to the rise in Manufacturing aGVA were businesses restructuring, the take-over of a similar business, the gaining of new contracts and reduction in purchases.

Across Manufacturing, almost 60% (14 out of 24) of the divisions contributing to this sector experienced decreases in aGVA between 2013 and 2014.

The 22.3% (£0.2 billion) decrease in aGVA for Manufacture of coke & refined petroleum products (Division 19) is caused by a reduction in turnover and purchases due to the drop in the price of crude oil and a decrease in stocks reported by businesses within the division. Due to the small size of this division in terms of Manufacturing aGVA, annual changes should be viewed with care.

The economic downturn and recovery in the Manufacturing sector described by the ABS, between 2008 and 2014, is broadly in line with movements in comparable industries of our “UK Manufacturers' sales by product (PRODCOM)” figures. Both the ABS turnover estimates and the PRODCOM industry total sales estimates show a fall between 2008 and 2009 and then annual increases from 2009 to 2014, with ABS showing a slight fall in 2012.

Other Production, Sections B, D to E

This sector consists of Mining & quarrying (Section B, which includes oil and gas extraction), Energy generation & supply (Section D) and Water & waste management (Section E). The sector saw decreases in turnover and purchases of 1.4% (£2.8 billion) and 0.2% (£0.3 billion) respectively, which resulted in a decrease in aGVA of 5.3% (£3.4 billion).

The section contributing the most to the fall in aGVA was Mining & quarrying with a large decrease of 30.7% (£7.3 billion), offset by Sections D and E which saw increases of 9.6% (£2.3 billion) and 9.8% (£1.7 billion) respectively.

Mining & Quarrying, Section B, which includes Oil and Gas Extraction

Turnover in Mining & quarrying decreased by a greater amount of 16.0% (£7.9 billion) than purchases, which decreased by 5.1% (£1.5 billion). Together with decreases in work of a capital nature, this resulted in a decrease of 30.7% (£7.3 billion) in aGVA.

The main contributor to the fall in aGVA was Extraction of crude petroleum & natural gas (Division 06), where turnover decreased by 22.1% (£7.7 billion) and purchases by 10.5% (£2.1 billion). Together with a £0.9 billion decrease in work of a capital nature, this resulted in a fall in aGVA of 35.8% (£6.6 billion) in Division 06.

One potential factor behind this was the sharp fall in commodity prices in the second half of 2014. For example, as reported in our Economic Review, crude oil prices fell from an average of £69.72 per barrel between 2011 and 2013 to £31.78 at the start of 2015. This is also supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in Table 4.1.2 of their monthly release on fuel prices. Another contributing factor may be the slow-down in growth of emerging economies, which fell from 5.0% in 2013 to 4.6% in 2014 as reported by the IMF in their July 2015 release of the World Economic Outlook.

Energy Generation & Supply, Section D

Energy generation & supply also saw an increase between 2013 and 2014. Turnover increased by 4.0% (£4.5 billion) and purchases by 2.2% (£1.9 billion), which resulted in an aGVA increase of 9.6% (£2.3 billion).

The continuing population rise of micro-businesses (those with less than 10 employees) in this sector is thought to be due to the growth of small producers of renewable energy encouraged by various green grants, subsidies and "feed in tariffs". Between 2013 and 2014, the number of micro-businesses in this section increased by 27.0% (to over 2,997 businesses).

Notes for Manufacturing Industries, Section C

Please note that the ABS figures for the Manufacturing industries should not be compared directly with PRODCOM 's “Total Sales of Businesses Classified to this Industry” figure because:

  • PRODCOM publish a calendar year figure whereas ABS figures are based on annual responses from businesses covering a range of financial years

  • PRODCOM focuses on products whilst ABS focuses on activities. The total value of production, in a particular industry, may differ from the turnover reported by ABS as an enterprise might carry out other activities, in addition to production, that contribute to its turnover

  • PRODCOM and ABS produce estimates using different sampling and statistical methodologies

  • PRODCOM publish industry totals for turnover excluding HMRC Duty, while ABS publishes turnover inclusive of Duty

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8. Distribution Industries, Section G

The Distribution industries in 2014 contributed £188.8 billion, 17.1% of the estimated aGVA total of £1,104.6 billion for the UK Non-Financial Business Economy.

The large rise in Distribution aGVA of 24.8% (£37.5 billion) between 2013 and 2014 was a result of a fall in purchases, for the first time since 2009, by a greater proportion of 3.7% (£48.8 billion) than the fall in turnover of 0.9% (£13.8 billion), see Figure 12.

This second consecutive annual increase in aGVA takes it above the level seen in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn, for the first time by 19.7% (£31.0 billion).

The division contributing most to the growth in Distribution aGVA was Wholesale with a 73.9% (£27.7 billion) contribution, as a result of purchases falling by a greater amount than turnover (see Figures 13 and 14).

The remaining increases in aGVA which were contributed by Retail and Motor Trades, resulted from increases in both turnover and purchases.

Wholesale (Excluding Motor Trades), Division 46

Wholesale experienced greater decreases in purchases of 8.0% (£71.9 billion) than turnover of 4.6% (£44.7 billion) between 2013 and 2014, which resulted in an increase in aGVA of 57.1% (£27.7 billion).

The rise in aGVA between 2013 and 2014 was driven by Other specialised wholesale (Group 46.7), which showed an increase of £25.0 billion. This group includes Wholesale of solid, liquid & gaseous fuels & related products, where reasons cited by businesses for their fall in turnover and purchases (and the resulting rise in aGVA) over this period were the fall in oil prices during 2014. A potential factor behind this was the sharp fall in commodity prices in the second half of 2014, which is described in the earlier chapter on Mining & quarrying (Section B) within the Production sector.

Retail (Excluding Motor Trades), Division 47

Retail aGVA saw an increase of 8.7% (£6.8 billion) between 2013 and 2014. This growth in aGVA was a result of a 3.9% (£14.0 billion) increase in turnover and a smaller 3.0% (£8.4 billion) increase in purchases.

The increase in aGVA was mainly caused by an 8.7% (£2.9 billion) rise in Retail sale in non-specialised stores (Group 47.1) which includes retail sales in super-stores and department stores.

Reports from businesses continued to indicate that turnover from mail orders and via the internet increased at a higher rate than turnover from shops. Although increasing, retail sales from mail order and the internet remains a small share of total turnover.

Retail sale of automotive fuel (Group 47.3) saw decreases in turnover of 4.7% (£0.8 billion) and purchases of 5.8% (£0.9 billion). Reports from businesses indicate that the decrease in turnover and purchases were linked to the drop in crude oil prices.

Motor Trades (Wholesale and Retail), Division 45

Between 2013 and 2014, both purchases and turnover increased, by 11.3% (£14.6 billion) and 11.1% (£16.9 billion) respectively. This resulted in aGVA increasing by 12.1% (£2.9 billion), a second consecutive increase.

Within Motor Trades, Sale of motor vehicles (Group 45.1) contributed most to the growth with a 20.6% (£2.6 billion) increase in aGVA between 2013 and 2014. This is the second consecutive annual increase for this group.

Notes for Distribution Industries, Section G

Retail (Excluding Motor Trades), Division 47

  1. Please note that the ABS figures for the Retail industry should not be compared directly with the annual “value non seasonally adjusted” figures in the monthly “'Retail Sales Inquiry” release because:

    • the ABS figures cover the United Kingdom, while the “Retail Sales Inquiry” covers Great Britain only
    • the ABS “total” turnover figures in the main results tables represent sales to both business and the public and are published excluding VAT, while those in the “Retail Sales Inquiry” represent sales to the public only and are published including VAT
  2. The ABS does publish “retail” turnover figures (for sales to the public only) in its Retail Commodities tables in the June release which are inclusive of VAT and will be closer to “Retail Sales Inquiry” figures, however;

    • the ABS “retail” turnover figures includes data for National Health Service receipts and commissions whereas the “Retail Sales Inquiry” do not
    • Retail Sales Inquiry does not cover household spending on services bought from the retail sector as it is designed to only cover goods
    • although both outputs quote figures for a calendar year, the “Retail Sales Inquiry” produce monthly output measures which include average weekly value and volume estimates. The value estimates reflect the average total turnover that businesses have collected over a standard reporting period, while the volume estimates are calculated by taking the value estimates and adjusting to remove the impact of price changes. ABS figures are based on annual responses from businesses covering a range of financial years
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9. Construction Industries, Section F

The Construction industries contributed £86.3 billion, 7.8% of the estimated aGVA total of £1,014.6 billion for the UK Non-Financial Business Economy in 2014.

Construction turnover increased by 10.0% (£19.9 billion) between 2013 and 2014, with purchases increasing by 14.1% (£17.0 billion). Together with a rise in stock levels, this resulted in a growth in aGVA of 9.8% (£7.7 billion). This is the fourth consecutive year of growth, taking it 1.8% (£1.5 billion) above the level seen in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn, for the first time, see Figure 15.

As in the previous couple of years, the growth in Construction was mainly in Construction of buildings (Division 41) with a rise of 17.5% (£5.2 billion), see Figures 16 and 17. Specialised construction trades (Division 43) also contributed, with an increase in aGVA of 9.3% (£3.3 billion), but Civil engineering (Division 42) experienced a decrease in aGVA of 5.5% (£0.8 billion).

Construction of Buildings (Division 41)

Construction of buildings, which was the main contributor for the growth in the Construction sector, experienced an increase in aGVA of 17.5% (£5.2 billion) between 2013 and 2014. This was a result of a 12.9% (£10.3 billion) increase in turnover and an 18.5% (£9.4 billion) increase in purchases, coupled with a £4.5 billion rise in stock levels. As was the case in the previous 2 years, the main reason for the growth in aGVA was in the Development of building projects (Group 41.1).

The growth in Construction may be due to several factors such as rising house prices as reported in our Economic Review, July 2015 and improving credit conditions as reported by the Bank of England.

Our House Price Index (HPI) shows that house prices grew by 3.5% in 2013 and by 10.0% in 2014. The increase in the demand for housing is also reflected by data from the Bank of England which show that mortgage approvals were 5.2% higher in 2014 than in 2013.

Notes for Construction Industries, Section F

Please note that the ABS figures for the Construction industries should not be compared directly with annual figures in the monthly “Output in the Construction Industry” release because:

  • the ABS figures cover the United Kingdom, while the “Output in the Construction Industry” covers Great Britain only

  • the 2 surveys measure different concepts of this industry

  • while both quote figures for a calendar year, the “Output in the Construction Industry” are based on the aggregate of the responses to 12 monthly surveys, whereas ABS figures are based on annual responses covering a range of business years

  • the ABS figures will always be larger than those in the “Output in the Construction Industry” because the latter excludes: Property developers (SIC 41.1); Payment on purchased services (architects, technical engineering, etc.); Payment to subcontractors, unless the subcontractors are not classified to construction and therefore are not part of the survey; Value of land; Value of materials sold (which are not part of a structure); and Fixtures, equipment and tools that are sold

  • the ABS figures include secondary activities related to businesses classified within the construction sector, while the “Output in the Construction Industry” covers only the construction activity of the businesses

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10. Agriculture (part), Forestry and Fishing, Section A

The ABS covers only hunting, forestry, fishing and the support activities to agriculture. Commentary is therefore limited because the sector’s size in terms of economic output, as measured by the ABS, is small in comparison to the other sectors of the UK Non-Financial Business Economy. However, data for these parts of Section A can be found in the reference tables linked to this bulletin.

Note that the values quoted below for Section A are in £ millions.

The part of Section A covered by ABS showed rises in turnover of 20.9% (£927 million) between 2013 and 2014 and in purchases of 23.7% (£650 million) which led to an increase of 15.7% (£291 million) in aGVA between 2013 and 2014. The main contributor to this increase was Silviculture and other forestry activities (Group 02.1) which covers the cultivation of trees for timber and pulp.

This rise means that for the second consecutive year at £2,147 million, aGVA is higher than the level in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn.

Comparable GVA figures for the rest of Agriculture (which includes crop and animal production) are available in Chapter 3 (Table 3.2) of the Agriculture in the United Kingdom release published annually by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and shows a value of £9,922 million for 2014.

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11 .Background notes

  1. What’s New?

    Report on a feasibility study into Capturing Regional Capex on the ABS (69.7 Kb Pdf).

    For the first time our Exporters and Importers, GB, 2014 and Business Ownership in the UK, 2013 releases include regional breakdowns.

  2. Annual Business Survey – ABS

    Our Annual Business Survey (ABS), formerly the Annual Business Inquiry part 2 (ABI/2), produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is the key resource for understanding the detailed structure, conduct and performance of businesses across the UK.

    The ABS survey samples approximately 63,000 businesses in Great Britain from a population of over 1.8 million businesses in the sample frame on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). The responding businesses provide information such as their turnover, purchases, employment costs, capital expenditure and stocks.

    Approximately 11,000 businesses in Northern Ireland are sampled by the Department of Finance and Personnel Northern Ireland and contribute to the UK estimates.

    Any reference to "businesses" relates to Reporting Units registered for VAT and/or PAYE on the IDBR. Some very small businesses (those without employees and with turnover below the tax threshold) will therefore be excluded. Data comparing registered and unregistered businesses in the UK are published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). An introduction to the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) can be found on the ONS website.

    In this National Statistics publication, a range of estimates are published including turnover, purchases, approximate Gross Value Added at basic prices (aGVA) and employment costs for industry sectors and the UK Business Economy. All data are reported at current prices (effect of price changes included).

    Visit the ABS webpages for more in-depth information about the ABS, plus the latest news on survey changes and developments.

    An ABS Glossary (405.2 Kb Pdf) of terms is available to help interpret the technical descriptions and abbreviations used throughout this bulletin.

  3. ABS Quality Information

    A Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report (149.3 Kb Pdf) for the ABS can be found on the ONS website. The aims of the QMI report are to provide users with a greater understanding of ONS’s statistics, their uses and the methods that are used to produce them.

    The ABS is a sample survey. As with all estimates obtained from sample surveys, ABS estimates are subject to various sources of error. The total error in a survey estimate is the difference between the estimate derived from the data collected and the true (unknown) value for the population. The total error consists of two main elements; the sampling error and the non-sampling error. The ABS was designed to minimise both these errors. The standard error is the estimated value of the sampling error. The estimate for a variable, plus and minus the standard error for the variable, gives a range in which the true unknown value for the population should lie. The closer the standard error is to 0, the more reliable the estimate.

    The coefficient of variation is the standard error of a variable divided by the survey estimate, and it is used to compare the relative precision across surveys or variables. The closer the coefficient of variation is to 0, the more reliable the estimate. Standard errors and coefficients of variation for turnover, aGVA, purchases, employment costs and capital expenditure are available in the quality measures table published with this release.

    More detailed information on these and other quality and methodology issues is available in the ABS Technical Report (1.68 Mb Pdf) published on the ABS webpages.

    Selective editing

    When ABS responses are received, checks are undertaken to ensure the information is correct. This is known as editing and validation. Selective editing was used to validate responses for the first time for the 2011 results using software called SELEKT. SELEKT is a generic selective editing tool which highlights responses which appear to be in error if they fall outside the range of what is expected and have a large influence on key estimates. Those responses with the highest score are prioritised for editing and validation. This increases the efficiency of the editing process by focussing on the responses with the highest impact and importance.

    The introduction of selective editing should at least maintain, if not improve the quality of the ABS results as it should: minimise the bias introduced by processing (removing over-editing); remove non-value adding activities from the process; and focus resources to errors that impact on the results.

    However, the full impact on quality is not yet known. This will continue to be monitored and any updates will be included with future ABS releases. For more information on SELEKT, see Chapter 5 of the ABS Technical Report.

  4. Uses and Users of ABS Statistics

    ABS outputs may be used to answer questions such as:

    • how much wealth has been created in a particular industry?
    • has there been a shift in activity from one industrial sector to another, and which industry groups/classes/subclasses are driving the change?
    • are any industries particularly dominant in specific regions or countries of the UK and are there structural changes over time?
    • how productive is a particular industry, such as the chemicals sector, and what is its operating profitability?

    ABS data was used in these recent ONS publications:

    Exporters and Importers, Great Britain, 2014

    Business Ownership in the UK, 2013

    The Economic Performance of the UK’s Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Industry, Car Production

    There are a wide range of users that view, download and utilise the ABS data. Key users of the output include:

    National Accounts: The statistics produced help to improve the overall quality of the UK National Accounts and the measurement of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The ABS forms a major data input to the production of Input-Output Annual Supply and Use Tables used to set the annual level of UK GDP. The Supply and Use tables show the sales and purchases relationships between consumers and producers by industry (see chapter 2 of UK National Accounts, Blue Book 2011 edition (5.31 Mb Pdf)). For the latest available comparison with National Accounts GVA see the figures for 2013 in the Blue Book 2015 edition Table 2.2.

    Indices of Services and Production: Use ABS data to calculate the weights used to produce the indexes, and to calculate the deflation of turnover.

    Eurostat: ABS is the main source of data supplied to Eurostat to meet the requirements of the European Structural Business Statistics (SBS) Regulation. This regulation ensures that key statistics on the structure of businesses are composed in a way which is comparable across Europe. Eurostat use SBS data to inform and monitor European Union policy.

    Scottish Government and the Welsh Government: The financial information is also used by the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government in the compilation of regional and country specific Input-Output tables (e.g. Scottish Input-Output) and Indices of Production (e.g. Welsh Indices of Production). The resulting outputs are used to inform and monitor policy.

    Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS): Use ABS data to assess the structure and performance of UK industries.

    Local Authorities: Data are used for economic research, planning purposes, lobbying and economic strategy development.

    Business consultants: Use these data to understand trends in industry sectors and UK regions.

    Marketing experts: Use these data to undertake demographic mapping and market segmentation.

    Other local and national government departments and bodies, businesses, academics and the general public use these data for research, modelling or forecasting and to track industry trends.

    More detailed information on the uses and users of ABS is available in the ABS Technical Report (1.68 Mb Pdf) published on the ABS webpages.

  5. Your views matter

    An ABS short user survey asking for feedback on ABS releases closed in August 2015. We are currently analysing the responses and will publish an analysis shortly.

    We are constantly aiming to improve this release and its associated commentary. We would welcome any feedback you might have, and would be particularly interested in knowing how you make use of these data to inform your work. Please contact us via email: abs@ons.gsi.gov.uk or telephone Jon Gough on +44 (0)1633 456720.

    The How E-commerce is changing the shape of business event, coordinated jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), took place in October 2015. The event featured a range of talks from users, producers and suppliers of e-commerce statistics, not just from central government and the devolved administrations, but also local government, media, business representatives and researchers. To view the content of the day, please visit the event page.

  6. International comparisons

    International comparisons of structural business statistics are available from Eurostat (for the European Union), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):

    Eurostat: analysis of the European business economy

    OECD: follow the link to the structural analysis database, under the industry and services theme

  7. ABS Revisions

    ABS estimates are revised in line with the ABS Revisions Policy. The revisions policy is available in the ABS Technical Report (1.68 Mb Pdf) to assist users with their understanding of the cycle and frequency of data revisions. Users of this release are strongly advised to read this policy before using the data for research or policy related purposes.

    Planned revisions usually arise from either the receipt of additional data or the correction of errors to existing data by businesses responding to the ABS. Those of notable magnitude will be highlighted and explained.

    Revisions to published ABS results can be expected at the following times in the normal course of operation of the ABS:

    • national figures for the current reference year will usually be revised between the provisional and revised data releases
    • national figures for the previous reference year will be revised at the current survey year's revised data release

    There are no revisions to the 2013 previous reference year’s data in this provisional 2014 release.

    Revisions to data provide one indication of the reliability of key indicators. A table showing the size of revisions is published alongside the statistical bulletin released in June each year.

    All other revisions will be regarded as unplanned and will be dealt with by non-standard releases. All revisions will be released in compliance with the same principles as other new information.

  8. Response Rates and Compliance Costs

    The figures in this release are based on an annual survey of businesses. Provisional 2014 results are based on a response rate of 78.6%. Response rates by different sectors can be found in the Quality Measures spreadsheet accompanying this release.

    For an estimate of the cost to GB businesses for providing their data to the ABS (known as compliance cost) see appendix B of the ONS Compliance Plan.

  9. General Information

    These points should be noted when using ABS results:

    ABS coverage

    The results in this Statistical Bulletin represent approximately two thirds of the UK economy in terms of Gross Value Added. In previous releases the UK Business Economy has been referred to as the Whole Economy.

    The industries covered are:

    • agriculture (support activities SIC 01.6 and hunting & trapping 01.7 only), forestry and fishing - Section A
    • production industries - Sections B-E
    • construction industries - Section F
    • distribution industries - Section G
    • Non-Financial Service industries - Sections H, I, J, L, M, N, P (private provision only),Q (SIC 87 and 88, private provision only in SIC 86.1 and 86.9), R and S

    The main industries excluded are:

    • agriculture (crop and animal production SIC 01.1, 01.2, 01.3, 01.4 and 01.5 in Section A)
    • financial and insurance (Section K)
    • public administration and defence (Section O)
    • education (public provision in Section P)
    • health (SIC 86.2, public provision in SIC 86.1 and 86.9 in Section Q)

    Data for a small part of the Financial and insurance sector (Insurance and reinsurance only (SIC 65.1 and 65.2)) has been collected by the ABS since 2008 and was previously included in the results. This was the only part of Financial and Insurance Activities (Section K) covered by the survey. As with any new time-series, estimates for these industries have remained experimental while ongoing quality assurance has taken place. This quality assurance has led the figures to be revised substantially in recent years with a resulting break in the series between 2009 and 2010. Following discussions with key users, ONS decided to remove this experimental series from ABS releases for the reference year 2012 onwards due to the continued volatility of the data. The estimates for this series have been removed from releases since November 2013 to allow for a more detailed quality assessment to be undertaken. The removal of these series does not affect other industries published as part of this release and has no impact on any other financial statistics published by ONS.

    A review of the questionnaire for Insurance and Reinsurance businesses will be undertaken, alongside continued validation of returns to the survey, with the aim of reintroducing them to the ABS publications when the quality of the data has improved. Updates on progress will be available on the ABS News Pages.

    Standard Industrial Classification

    ABS results are classified according to the Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC) system. The UK is required by European legislation to have a system of classification consistent with the European Union’s industrial classification system. The system underwent a major review in 2007. ABS data have been collected and published on the SIC 2007 system since the reference year 2008. Other revisions to the system occurred in 1958, 1968, 1980, 1992, 1997, and 2003.

    UK SIC 2007 is divided into 21 sections, each denoted by a single letter from A to U. Each section can be uniquely defined by the next breakdown, the divisions (denoted by two digits). The divisions are then broken down into groups (three digits), then into classes (four digits) and, in several cases, again into subclasses (five digits). So for example we have:

    section C manufacturing (comprising divisions 10 to 33)
    division 13 manufacture of textiles
    group 13.9 manufacture of other textiles
    class 13.93 manufacture of carpets and rugs
    subclass 13.93/1 manufacture of woven or tufted carpets and rugs

    The full structure of SIC 2007 consists of 21 sections, 88 divisions, 272 groups, 615 classes and 191 subclasses in SIC 2007.

    Structural Changes to Businesses

    The business economy is constantly evolving as businesses merge, are taken over, or simply change the main focus of their business. These changes can result in the industry classification of a business changing over time. For example, if a business undertakes both manufacturing and wholesale activities, but most of its employment is within manufacturing, it will be classified to manufacturing. If the employment were to change substantially so that the majority worked in wholesale then the industry classification would change and the whole of the businesses turnover, for example, would move from manufacturing to wholesale. In industries where movements are common, or where large businesses are involved, these changes can themselves sometimes cause large changes in ABS estimates. This should be taken into consideration when changes over time are being assessed.

    Calculation of Gross Value Added estimates

    Approximate Gross Value Added at basic prices (aGVA) is derived from the responses of businesses to questions asked on the ABS. It is a measure of the income generated by businesses, industries or sectors, less the cost of goods and services used to create the income. The main component of income is turnover, while purchases is the main component of the consumed goods and services. Stock levels which may rise or fall can also have an impact on aGVA, as can the values of subsidies received or duty paid. Businesses' labour costs (for example, wages and salaries) are paid from the value of aGVA, leaving a gross operating surplus (or loss) which is a good approximation for profit (or loss). The cost of capital investment, financial charges and dividends to shareholders are met from the gross operating surplus.

    aGVA is calculated in basic prices. That is, the valuation of output includes net taxes (taxes minus subsidies) on production, such as business rates, but not net taxes on individual products that result from the production process, such as Value Added Tax (VAT).

    Estimates of turnover and purchases from the ABS are used to produce estimates of output and intermediate consumption (and therefore GVA) in the National Accounts. However, many other sources (including surveys and administrative sources) are also used to produce National Accounts estimates. These include sources of data on taxation and inventories (which are preferred to the ABS as they are used consistently throughout all parts of the National Accounts), as well as own-use output and non-market output (as these activities are only partially covered by the ABS).

    There are differences between the two measures of gross value added in terms of coverage. For example, GVA covers the whole of the UK economy while aGVA covers the UK Non-Financial Business Economy, a subset of the whole economy that excludes large parts of agriculture, all of public administration and defence, publicly provided healthcare and education, and the financial sector.

    There are conceptual differences between the two measures of gross value added. For example, some production activities such as illegal smuggling of goods must be included in the National Accounts but are outside the scope of the ABS.

    There are three approaches to measuring GDP; one based on production activity, one based on expenditure, and one based on income. In theory, the three approaches should produce the same estimate of GDP. However, in practice this is never the case because the three approaches make use of different data sources, each with their own definitions and limitations. The three different estimates are therefore reconciled in a process known as Supply and Use balancing. The balancing process is informed by a variety of data sources, and results in adjustments to estimates of output and intermediate consumption. For many industries, the balancing adjustment is the greatest source of difference between estimates from the ABS and the National Accounts.

    More detailed information of the differences between aGVA and GVA is available in the ABS Technical Report (1.68 Mb Pdf) published on the ABS webpages. There is also a more detailed article ‘A Comparison between ABS and National Accounts Measures of Value Added (462.3 Kb Pdf)’ recently published by the ABS.

    Business Register and Employment Survey

    The reference tables that support this release include estimates of employment. The ABS does not collect employment level information so instead this key information is taken from another source. In the past, employment data were collected via the Annual Business Inquiry / Part 1 (ABI/1), however, in 2009, ABI/1 was replaced with the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES). The ABS and BRES are both optimal for their respective purposes, however caution should be taken when combining the financial data from the ABS and employment information from BRES to calculate estimates due to differences in methodology. More information on the differences between ABS and BRES is available in the ABS Technical Report (1.68 Mb Pdf) published on the ABS webpages.

    Employment estimates by employment sizeband from BRES are not available in this release due to ongoing quality concerns about this information. ONS aim to resolve this issue in time for the 2015 BRES results published in September 2016. This will mean that employment sizeband estimates for all years back to 2009 will be reinstated within the ABS release in November 2016.

    Employment figures are still available at an industry breakdown.

  10. Disclosure Control and Symbols Used

    It is sometimes necessary to suppress figures for certain items in order to avoid disclosing information about an individual business. Further information on why data are suppressed is available in the ONS Disclosure Control Policy or in the ABS Technical Report (1.68 Mb Pdf).

    The following symbols are used throughout the ABS releases:

    * information suppressed to avoid disclosure
    .. not available
    - nil or less than half the level of rounding

  11. National Statistics

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority reviewed ABS outputs in their report “Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics: Statistics from the Annual Business Survey – Assessment Report 180

    Following the ABS response to the report the UK Statistics Authority have since designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs
    • are well explained and readily accessible
    • are produced according to sound methods
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

  12. Social Media

    Follow ONS on Twitter and receive up to date information about our statistics.

    Like ONS on Facebook to receive our updates in your newsfeed and to post comments on our page.

  13. Government Statistical Service (GSS) Business Statistics

    To find out about other official business statistics, and choose the right data for your needs, use the GSS Business Statistics Interactive User Guide. By selecting your topics of interest, the tool will pinpoint publications that should be of interest to you, and provide you with links to more detailed information and the relevant statistical releases. It also offers guidance on which statistics are appropriate for different uses.

  14. Discussing ONS Business Statistics Online

    There is a Business and Trade Statistics community on the StatsUserNet website. StatsUserNet is the Royal Statistical Society’s interactive site for users of official statistics. The community objectives are to promote dialogue and share information between users and producers of official business and trade statistics about the structure, content and performance of businesses within the UK. Anyone can join the discussions by registering via either of the links.

  15. ONS Theme Pages

    Statistics are available on the ONS web pages categorised by themes, subject areas, topics and sub-topics. If you are interested in statistics on a particular issue, navigating through the categories will identify all the statistics available that relate to the selected theme, topic or subtopic.

    For Business themed short stories and articles please visit the Business and Energy theme page.

  16. Special events

    ONS has published commentary, analysis and policy on 'Special Events' which may affect statistical outputs. For full details visit the Special Events page on the ONS website.

  17. Release Policy

    ABS UK national results at the industry class level (4 digit Standard Industrial Classification 2007) are available free of charge via the 'Data in this release' button at the top of this publication, or from the ABS webpages on the ONS website. The published variables include turnover, purchases, aGVA and employment costs.

    Additional standard extracts containing more detail are available on request. Bespoke analyses are also available but there will be a charge for these. For more information about either of these services please email abs@ons.gsi.gov.uk, or telephone +44 (0)1633 456592 for standard extracts, or +44 (0)1633 456606 for bespoke special analyses

    Any bespoke analysis carried out for ABS customers will be available free of charge on the Published ad hoc data and analysis: Business and Energy web pages.

  18. Copyright

    © Crown copyright 2013.

    You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit the National Archives website or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk.

    This document is also available on our website at www.ons.gov.uk.

  19. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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12 . Methodology