Summary of important quality information you need to know before using this data.

The GDP Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) PDF linked to from this page contains further information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data
  • the quality of the output: including the accuracy of the data, how it compares with related data
  • uses and users
  • how the output was created

Important points about GDP data

  • GDP measures total domestic economic activity.
  • GDP estimates use 3 approaches; output, expenditure and income.
  • Data for GDP estimates are sourced from survey and administrative sources, which are used in the compilation of individual components of GDP.
  • Data are available and comparable on an annual basis dating back to 1948 and on a quarterly basis dating back to 1955.


GDP measures total domestic economic activity and can be estimated in 3 different ways: the production approach; the expenditure approach and the income approach.

GDP estimates are produced quarterly and annually. There are 3 publication stages for the quarterly estimates: the preliminary estimate, the second estimate of GDP, and the UK quarterly national accounts. Annual estimates are published in the annual Blue Book publication.

The UK national accounts provide the basis for analysing the economic performance of the country and are used throughout business and research communities, education, media and the general public. The accounts are major inputs to HM Treasury (HMT) and Bank of England decisions on fiscal and monetary policy and the forecasts produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Further information on GDP and the 3 approaches can be found in the Guide to National Accounts Framework and UK national accounts – a short guide.

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