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.

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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

Since 2008, the Tier 1 (General) visa has allowed 33,756 people to come to the UK as highly skilled migrants. They brought 47,535 dependents with them.

On December 22nd, 2010, the visa route was closed to new overseas applicants.

For those who came to the UK on this visa and have been here for five years, there is one last test to pass in order to be allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely – without further visa restrictions.

Would you qualify to stay in the UK as a highly skilled migrant?

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The 2013 British Social Attitude survey, released today, mainly focuses on questions of national identity and alongside asking everyone about questions on immigration and Britishness, asks Scots specifically a set of questions about their attitudes to nationhood and independence. Read more

As an aid to debates about the referendum on whether Scotland should be independent from the UK, Britain’s Office for National Statistics has published a compendium that allows for comparisons to be made between the four countries of the UK.

Thanks, in part, to devolution, the UK has four organisations that produce official statistics: the Office for National Statistics, the Scottish Government, StatsWales and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency who all release different surveys that gather data in different ways.

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The Office for National Statistics has, for the first time, included estimates of the impact of prostitution and illegal drugs in the national accounts. By the ONS’ reckoning they add about £10bn to the British economy.

Estimates of anything to do with the black economy are always going to be uncertain at best, but the statistics available are pretty interesting. Read more

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Voters will go to the polls in all 32 London boroughs, 36 metropolitan authorities and handful of other councils on May 22. This interactive map and cartogram shows the current state of parties in the local authorities holding elections, and some of the possible scenarios for the elections’ outcomes.

Before a measure of inequality can be calculated there are some questions that need to be answered: Chiefly, equality of what? Living standards? Wealth? Income? Or, perhaps, opportunity?

And what do you include? Is income measured before tax and benefits, or after? Do you include public goods in measures of living standards? How do you account for public assets and debts in wealth?

And who are the relevant people? The whole world or one country? Do you include students and children or just adults of working age?

The level of inequality measured will always depend on how these questions are answered.

The British Wealth and Assets survey, released today, provides measures of inequality in private wealth (so not including public debts and assets) between different households.

And households come in different shapes and sizes.

Individuals who are married or widowed are the most likely to live in a wealthier household. Whereas those who are separated, divorced or single are the least likely.

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