The Office for National Statistics has rejected what it sees as a campaign to undermine its credibil...
The Office for National Statistics has rejected what it sees as a campaign to undermine its credibility in relation to GDP statistics saying it has so far received no formal complaints about the level of service it provides or the quality of the statistics it publishes.
Several times this week the ONS has been criticised by The Times in particular over the quality of the data it publishes, which is subsequently used by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to set interest rates.
Accusations were made by the paper that the figures required revision more often than similar quarterly GDP statistics published by equivalent statistical offices in other G7 or OECD countries.
But a spokesman for the ONS said the body stood by its methodology, which was in any case subject to ongoing revisions to reduce the need for revisions and present as true a picture as possible of the GDP growth and inflation rates looked for by the MPC among others.
"We accept that the figures are revised from time to time, but the performance is getting better over time," the spokesman says.
"The way we do accounts is very much guided by international conventions and we spend time looking for the most appropriate indicators. We publish three GSP estimates for each quarter and the most recent figures will be revised by 28 June, when we will also give the full set of statistics, including the savings ratio. We can't say at present, with the data we have whether it will be changed."
The MPC has not yet commented on the quality of any ONS data it may be using, instead dealing with its own issue of standing accused of consistently undershooting its inflation target at the expense of faster economic growth in the UK.
The biggest shakeup to the way the ONS handles GDP figures is yet to occur, which will be adopting a new "chain linking" methodology by the time the so-called Blue Book 2003 is published.
Chain linking will do away the need to revise the base year every 5 or so years for purposes of indexing GDP figures.
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