Economic Data


About the Inquiry

The Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee held an inquiry on economic data. The inquiry focused on:

  • Accuracy (how reliable is the data)
  • Utility (how useful is it)
  • Interpretation (how to make sense of it)
  • Scrutiny (what are we measuring and does it encourage effective scrutiny).

The remit for the inquiry was:

To examine the accuracy, utility and comprehensibility of Scottish economic statistics; to consider what data is required for effective delivery and scrutiny of policy; and to recommend where any improvements might be made.

In preparation for this inquiry, SPICe commissioned 4-consulting, on behalf of the Committee, to produce a report (a copy of which can be found below) which would:

  • summarise current statistical provision;
  • identify gaps in statistical coverage;
  • discuss the situation in other European countries/regions, and
  • help the Committee gain an understanding what the Scottish and UK governments could and should be doing to improve the provision of economic data in Scotland.

This report was not a reflection of the Committee's views. It was intended to highlight some initial themes and issues, which were subsequently explored in more detail during the Committee's formal call for evidence and subsequent evidence sessions.


The Committee issued its call for views on 12 June 2017. The closing date for submissions was Friday 1 September 2017.

Read the call for views

Read the written submissions


The Convener wrote to the Scottish Fiscal Commission following their appearance before the Committee on 7 November 2017. They responded on 24 November 2017.

On 28 November 2017, the Committee received responses from Jonathan Athow, Office for National Statistics and Ed Humpherson, Office for Statistics Regulation following their appearance before the Committee on 7 November 2017. 

On 19 December 2017, the Committee received a letter from Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation regarding the adoption of UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice by organisations that do not produce official statistics.

On 29 March 2018, the Committee received a response from Dame Susan Rice, chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission.


 The Committee published its report on 12 February 2018.

The Office for National Statistics responded on 10 April 2018.

The Scottish Government responded to the Report on 18 April 2018.

On 14 June, the Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work to follow up on his response to the report. The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy & Fair Work responded on 10 June 2018.

The Office for Statistics Regulation responded on 21 May 2018.

The Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board responded on 3 July 2018.

The Scottish Government's Chief Statistician and Data Officer wrote to the Committee on 17 July 2018.

The Office for National Statistics responded on 1 August 2018.

The Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay, on 18 September 2018.

The Cabinet Secretary Responded on 19 October 2018.

On 31 October, the Committee wrote to Cabinet Secretary to address three matters outstanding from the report. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work responded on 21 November 2018.

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