This is about a bad trend in some questionable data: the official data says that the UK has a huge balance of trade deficit in goods, it’s getting worse and the driving force behind the trend has been the growing deficit with the EU. True? Probably. This trade deterioration needs to be noted, diagnosed, discussed as part of the Brexit negotiations and reversed. Continue reading The UK’s trade deficit in goods
Trade is at the centre of the EU referendum debate and yet there is a question mark over the accuracy of the numbers. It’s widely reported that 44% of the UK’s exports go to the EU. The true figure is almost certainly a few percentage points lower and the figures for bilateral flows between some countries are said to be “seriously misleading”. This note asks how wrong an official statistic has to be before the UK Statistics Authority ceases to call it a National Statistic? The ONS has a consultation out on trade figures closing this week and the next and final set of monthly UK trade figures before the EU referendum are due on 9 June. Continue reading Trade statistics – are they good enough?
Response rates to surveys are declining. Fast. New sources, such as big data or administrative data, or making survey response compulsory, are no longer an optional extra. They need to be discussed now as a way to boost the quality of and restore credibility to the nation’s key figures. The rise in employment and the fall in earnings defined the economy of the last Parliament. As survey response rates fall below 50%, there is a chance that those trends which never gelled to give a coherent picture are some way from reality.
Germany has a different position on migrants than the UK because it desperately needs people, any people, to plug the huge hole left by its demographic crisis. According to the Daily Telegraph, an EU Commission spokesperson said the “German move (to welcome migrants) is a welcome act of solidarity”. I suspect Ms Merkel’s stance is not so much humanitarian as deeply practical. Taking a million or more immigrants is a great idea if your country is projected to see its population fall by about 3 million in the next 25 years with crippling economic and social consequences. Continue reading Germany’s declining population and migrants
Not widely known about but possibly quite influential, the latest European reviews of EU member states’ statistical systems are well under way.
As the Eurostat website says: “Peer reviews are part of the European Statistical System (ESS) strategy to implement the Code of Practice (CoP). Their objective is to enhance the integrity, independence and accountability of the statistical authorities which make up the ESS.” The first handful have now been published but we await the news on the big beasts of Europe, including the UK. The assessment team has had its visit to the UK and the report is now being written and sent to and fro in draft form. Lets see what happens. Continue reading Review of the British statistical system