Statistics Authority to investigate public sector borrowing figures

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in News

Public Sector
UK Statistics Authority chair Andrew Dilnot has resolved to look into the treatment in official statistics of cash transfers from the Bank of England to the treasury.
 
Chris Giles, economics editor of the Financial Times, wrote to Andrew Dilnot  on 21 March expressing his concern over how transfers from the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund to the treasury will be reflected in Public Sector Net Borrowing (PSNBex) figures – figures whose underlying principle is ‘to show the underlying state of the public finances without temporary distortions’. Giles had previously expressed his concern in the Financial Times about the issue, previously covered by RSS eNews.
 
Chris Giles calls the current situation ‘flawed’ and believes it ‘will lead to a serious distortion in the measurement of the underlying health of the public finances which runs counter to the national interest’.
 
In his reply, Andrew Dilnot resolved to look into the matter. A non-executive member of the Authority will prepare a short report for the Authority Board, which is expected to be published by the end of May.
 
The RSS welcomes this move. ‘The UK Statistics Authority is showing that it will scrutinise the ONS as closely as it will any other body,’ said Hetan Shah, executive director. The recent report from the Public Administration Select Committee indicated there is a danger that the Authority will be seen as treating the ONS more leniently due to the Authority having a dual function here.’
 
He continued: ‘This intervention helps to show that this is not the case, thus maintaining trust in our statistical system.’
 
The correspondence between Chris Giles and Andrew Dilnot has been published on the UKSA website.
 

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