After big GDP revision, UK statisticians seek faster data access

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s statistics office requested earlier access to key economic data on Wednesday, a few days after it sharply revised its estimate of the size of the economy at the end of 2021 which caught many analysts by surprise.

A senior official at the Office for National Statistics asked Britain’s statistics regulator to review the outcome of its upcoming work on how it revised its estimates of the swings in the economy around the coronavirus pandemic period.

“We also wish to explore potential means by which key data might be made available to the ONS earlier in the production cycle,” Michael Keoghan, ONS deputy national statistician, said in the letter to the Office for Statistics Regulation.

The ONS collects a lot of data itself through surveys of businesses and households, but relies on government departments and other agencies for certain numbers.

The letter did not specify what data the ONS was seeking to receive earlier, but said this would help it to show a wider picture of the economy sooner than is currently the case.

On Friday, revised data from the ONS showed that Britain’s economy performed more strongly than previously thought in its recovery from the pandemic and was ahead of other big European countries at the end of 2021 rather than lagging behind them.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by David Milliken)