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£4M Funding Announced to Help Boost Understanding of the New Economy

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The Treasury is providing £4 million of additional funding to the Newport headquartered ONS so that we continue to have world-leading statistics that capture what is happening in the modern economy, benefitting investment in Wales.

This brings investment to-date to £16 million, and will allow the ONS to:

  • Develop new ways to measure the Sharing Economy and inflation, for example by trawling the internet for price changes
  • Fund improvements to the measurement of the labour market, trade, productivity and GDP in the face of rapid technological change via the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence
  • Roll out new PhDs and apprenticeship places for the next-generation of data scientists
  • Improve coverage of the services sector, on financial links across the economy and the breakdown of the UK’s trade around the world

The modern digital economy is harder to measure than the goods based economy of the past. The ONS is working hard to further understand the changes. The rapid rate of technological innovation, free services for consumers and major intangible investments by businesses all create challenges for the ONS, which this funding will help address.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Elizabeth Truss said:

“We are boosting our understanding of the Britain’s dynamic, go-getting companies that are driving productivity forward. From TransferWise to Deliveroo, disruptors are offering profoundly new services and shaking things up.

“We want to understand their impact on the economy, as together we build a country that works for everyone.”

National Statistician, John Pullinger said:

“Today’s announcement will greatly help ONS meet the challenges of measuring new forms of economic activity and give policy makers better insights into the UK economy.

“The Data Science Campus is already allowing us to interpret many new and exciting forms of data and the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence provides a crucial link to harnesses the internationally-renowned expertise of our universities.

“The new investment will also help ONS to build on recent innovations, such as the inclusion of the latest VAT information from thousands of UK businesses into official figures. New projects in the pipe line or already delivered including better measurement of wages, trade in services, productivity and the digital economy.”