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UK to count prostitution, drugs when measuring GDP

Saturday, May 31, 2014

LONDON—Sex please—we’re British. Britain’s Office of National Statistics said prostitution and the import, manufacture and consumption of illegal drugs will be counted when making the government’s quarterly calculations of gross domestic product. The statistics agency said yesterday some of these activities are legal in certain European Union countries, and comparable figures are needed. All member states need the same standard because they are used to assess a member state’s contribution to the EU budget.


“As economies develop and evolve, so do the statistics we use to measure them,” said Joe Grice, the ONS’s chief economic adviser. “These improvements are going on across the world and we are working with our partners in Europe and the wider world on the same agenda.” At the moment, the only illegal activities included in GDP are estimates on alcohol and tobacco smuggling.


The ONS said that the new estimates would add approximately £10 billion (US$16.7 billion) to the level of GDP in 2009. That said, it remains a small portion of Britain’s overall GDP, which now stands at £1.5 trillion.