UK

Some have suggested the BBC should become like Netflix and fund itself through viewer subscriptions. If you were in charge, what TV channels and radio stations would you offer?

 Read more

David Cameron is taking a leaf from Shinzo Abe’s book. “It’s time Britain had a pay rise,” the UK prime minister plans to tell business leaders on Tuesday (unlike the Japanese prime minister, he will deliver his message in a speech rather than over a few rounds of golf.) It seems like a political no-brainer with an election in May and a workforce that has suffered six years of real terms pay cuts. But is it really that simple? And what can Mr Cameron do about it anyway? Here are six charts that explain what is really going on.

1. It’s true that UK workers have suffered a brutal real-terms pay cut since the crisis.

 Read more

Guest post by Paul Hodges

The UK’s ageing population is creating major headwinds for economic growth, data published last month Office of National Statistics shows. Read more

The UK’s ‘two speed’ housing market is not a novel concept, but new figures highlight the regional and political split like never before.

Use our interactive graphic to explore how geography and politics divide fortunes in Britain’s property market. Read more

Our new unemployment tracker shows the latest jobs data across the European Union, including top-line figures for each country’s constituent regions. The most recent figures are for September 2014.

You can also download the latest data using the link beneath the graphic. Read more

A breakdown of all of the recepients in this year’s list Read more

Europe’s producers of pears are leaving crops to rot because of retaliation by Russia, the biggest buyer of European pears, against sanctions.

Many growers say it is cheaper not to harvest any but the most perfect fruit in a year when, according to Mintec, the commodities research and data group, overall production in Europe is estimated at 2.27m tonnes, down 2 per cent year-on-year from high output levels of 2013. Read more

Sally Gainsbury

The amount the NHS spends per patient will fall by at least £98 by 2020 under funding pledges made by each of the main political parties, figures based on NHS England’s internal calculations reveal.

The figures show that despite the current “ring fence” which protects the NHS budget in England from inflation, spending measured on health officials’ preferred measure – estimated patient numbers, which take account of the fact that as people age, they get sicker – has already dropped by £50 per patient since 2009. Read more

Emily Cadman

Are you a wealth accumulator, making good progress or burdened by debt? New research from think-tank the Smith Institute attempts to put a human face on all those distributional graphs of wealth inequality.

The report, published on Wednesday, calculates that property ownership in the UK, having risen dramatically in the last century, has peaked at 67 per cent of households and is likely to fall to 60 per cent by 2025. Read more

After a 13-year long war, UK forces and the US marines ended operations in Afghanistan on Sunday: in total 453 UK citizens lost their lives in the conflict and over 21,000 Afghanis are estimated to have died. The operational cost to the government is thought to be around £19bn. Read more

Emily Cadman

What to do about British manufacturing? There is hardly a politician in the country who hasn’t called for the sector to get a boost. But the Office for National Statistics is set to stress today that popular perceptions manufacturing is disappearing from the UK are wide of the mark.

New analysis, to be presented by ONS chief economist Joe Grice at a conference on the changing shape of manufacturing, will focus on the sector’s move up the value chain despite an unquestioned reduction in employee numbers. Read more

More than half of children born in Britain in 2013 had a mother above the age of 30. For the first time since the government began keeping track. The mean age has been rising since a record low in the mid-1970s, after it fell from 29 just before the second world war. The average used by the Office for National Statistics is standardised to take account of the changes in the age distribution of the whole and allows the trends over time to be understood.

by Gavin Jackson and Keith Fray

On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund released its latest World Economic Outlook. A striking new finding emerges: the seven largest emerging markets are now bigger, in gross domestic product terms, than the long established G7 group of industrialised nations, when measured at purchasing power parity (PPP). Read more

By John Burn-Murdoch and Aleksandra Wisniewska

Scotland voted on Thursday to remain in the United Kingdom, with the pro-union camp securing 55.3 per cent of the vote. Read more


Based on the voter registration data and the Press Association’s estimated declaration times, here is an approximate timetable of what to expect during the night of the count Read more

It’s impossible to know just how seriously to take the polling for the Scottish independence referendum. Pollsters haven’t had the same opportunity to calibrate their forecasts through trial and error while observers don’t have a past record to go on, and as we reported yesterday, there’s a lot of disagreement between them. Read more

In news that will delight statisticians everywhere the distinction between the mean and the median finally has the political profile it deserves.

Yesterday Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK statistical authority, wrote a letter clarifying an ongoing debate between Labour and Conservative politicians on waiting times in accident and emergency rooms. Read more

So the UK economy grew 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, leaving output on this preliminary estimate at just about the previous peak set in Q1 2008, over six years ago. For an economy that produces almost £400bn a quarter in gross domestic product, exceeding the previous peak by £752m is really small beer, as our first chart below the break shows.

 Read more

Keith Fray

The UK economy has finally recovered. Today’s estimate by the Office for National Statistics of gross domestic product for the second quarter takes output (adjusted for inflation) to a new high, above the level of the first quarter of 2008*.

Hurrah. But, although welcome, this is nothing to celebrate. The government will not be ordering church bells to be rung. That the sum total of everything produced in the economy is only now returning to the levels of six years ago is astonishing. To give some context, the recession and recovery have lasted about nine months longer than the second world war. Read more