Response on estimates of inbound visitors

Dear Ms Pow, Ms Hyslop and Lord Elis-Thomas,

Thank you for your letter of 13 August in which you highlight concerns about the quality of estimates from the International Passenger Survey for inbound visitors. You pointed to the importance of these estimates in enabling you to monitor and evaluate existing policy and develop new strategies.

Clearly you must be able to rely on these estimates. The Office for Statistics Regulation has committed to bringing forward its planned review of Overseas Travel and Tourism statistics. The review will include consideration of the issues you have raised in your letter with a view to publishing findings by the end of September 2019. This review will build on the compliance check published in October 2018 which looked at the transparency and communication of International Passenger Survey methods changes, delays and quality information.

OSR will engage with your officials to ensure the review reflects the concerns you have identified.

I am copying this letter to Iain Bell, Deputy National Statistician for Population and Public Policy.

Yours sincerely,

Sir David Norgrove


Related Links:

Letter from Rebecca Pow MP, Fiona Hyslop MSP and Lord Elis-Thomas AM to Sir David Norgrove (August 2019)

Income tax reconciliations for Scotland

Dear Finance Secretary,

The Scottish Government recently asked the UK Statistics Authority to consider a tweet and press article by the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury on the subject of income tax reconciliations for Scotland,(1) in which Ms Truss described a “£941m shortfall in Scottish tax revenues due to lower growth in Scotland.”. You argued that this was inaccurate.(2)

The Authority has examined Ms Truss’s article and the HM Treasury press statement on which it relied.(3) The statements in the press release, subsequently repeated by the Chief Secretary, clearly link the whole of the reconciliation in tax receipts and block grant adjustment to slower than expected economic growth in Scotland. We agree with you that this is incorrect. The principal reasons for the block grant adjustment were in fact an initial overestimate of the Scottish tax base and faster growth of tax receipts than expected in the rest of the UK.

The Authority’s Deputy Director for Regulation has today written to the Treasury’s Head of Profession for Statistics. I enclose a copy of her letter, in which she urges the need to improve the presentation of the Scottish fiscal framework in line with our Code of Practice for Statistics.

I am copying this letter to the former Chief Secretary and to the Heads of Profession for Statistics at the Treasury and at HM Revenue and Customs.

Yours sincerely,

Sir David Norgrove



Related Links:

Mary Gregory to Tom Orford (August 2019)

Code of Practice Consultation

Sir David Norgrove to Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution on Code of Practice consultation.