Today, the UK Statistics Authority has published a report on The Coherence and Accessibility of Official Statistics on Income and Earnings (PDF, 1.63MB). This work, carried out as part of the Authority’s monitoring programme, considers the way in which official statistics on income and earnings are presented.

This report finds there are a wide range of income and earning statistics already available. However, this information is not always as coherent or accessible as it could be in order to provide a clear and comprehensive understanding of how levels and trends in income and earnings in the UK are changing over time.

The report recognises that measuring income and earnings is not straightforward, and that statisticians across the UK are already tackling some of these issues. It recommends that the Government Statistical Service, under the leadership of the National Statistician, builds on this work to:

  • Engage with stakeholders to address the limited availability and timeliness of statistics on self employment;
  • Consider how best to provide users with more themed analyses in a way that remains current and sustainable, and provide users with an overall picture drawing the various sources together into a coherent whole; and
  • Improve the accessibility of statistics available and their underpinning data, with better guidance on their strengths and limitations.

Ed Humpherson, the Statistics Authority’s Director General for Regulation, said:

“Our recommendations set out how this goal might be achieved in the short and medium term. We have received much invaluable and expert advice throughout our research, and we believe that significant advancements to current income and earnings statistics are possible if producers continue to work collaboratively.”

“Fully understanding how income and earnings are changing over time is incredibly important, and tracking income and earnings is essential to inform these trends. We want to be sure official statistics producers are using the right statistics to communicate this complex story to Parliament, policy makers and the public”.

Responding to the report, John Pullinger, the National Statistician, said:

“I welcome this report and believe it gives us a real opportunity to find ways to make income and earnings statistics as helpful as they can be to the people who use them.

“There is much good work underway. The new quarterly ONS Economic Wellbeing release and our planned consultation on UK consumer prices following the Johnson Review will contribute to improving our understanding of this important field. I look forward to working with users and producers over the coming months, to build on what has already been achieved to make further improvements to these important statistics.”