Update 22 February 2017:

Please note that since the publication of this QMI there have been several updates to the release, which will in due course be incorporated into a revised QMI. Whilst the current QMI is based on the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA95) and the United Nations, System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93), updates largely coincide with the more recent European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA2010) and the United Nations, System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA2008). 

For example, to reflect changes made to fixed asset categories, from 2015 the main source of data for business investment – the Quarterly Survey of Capital Expenditure has been redesigned and is now known as the Quarterly Acquisitions and Disposals of Capital Assets Survey (QCAS). Further information about these changes can be found in the articles ‘Changes to the Annual Business Survey, the Quarterly Survey of Capital Expenditure and the Survey into Business Spending on Capital Items, in 2015’ and ‘Annual improvements to gross fixed capital formation source data for Blue Book 2017’ (Section 3). In recent quarters the sample size has also been reduced by 10% and businesses not yet in production or with less than 20 employees are no longer included in business investment estimates.

From February 2017 business investment will also be impacted by methodological and statistical changes, which have been made to the GFCF estimation system. Further information about these changes can be found in the article ‘Changes to the gross fixed capital formation methodology and processing’.


  • based on the Quarterly Capital Expenditure Inquiry survey
  • capital expenditure includes machinery and plant, transport equipment, software, and new building work, but excludes expenditure on dwellings
  • sample size of approximately 27,000 UK businesses
  • all businesses with employment of 300 or more are included permanently, however smaller businesses are sampled on a random basis

Business Investment provides estimates of capital expenditure by businesses in both the public and private sectors. Estimates are based primarily on the results of the Quarterly Capital Expenditure Inquiry which collects data on the acquisition and disposal of capital assets from across the whole UK economy. Estimates are published by broad industry type for the private sector and public corporations, and with further breakdowns by industry and asset for the private sector.

In addition to the data from the Quarterly Capital Expenditure Inquiry, data on capital expenditure from public corporations are collected from company accounts, quarterly questionnaires and Whole of Government Accounts.

Main users of this information include the Bank of England, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), and HM Treasury (HMT), who use this information for analysis and forecasting, and to inform monetary and fiscal policy decisions.

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