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The Business: Lies, Damned Lies And Statistics.

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'Lies, damned lies and statistics':


Ultimately, what matters in the short term is whether the ONS figures are taken on board by the Bank of England -- not whether they are true. Over the past two years, senior figures at the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street have started to doubt the quality of the ONS's output, going as far as to put together an in-house team of economists to produce its own, better-quality numbers.

If they were to reject the ONS's assessment of the health of Britain's consumer, then the latest figures are unlikely to have much of an impact on UK interest rates. But if the Bank of England agrees that UK retail sales took a tumble in January, it will make interest rate cuts much more likely. Combined with last week's figures for consumer price inflation, which remained at the low rate of 1.9%, this suggests that a loosening of monetary policy could be on the cards earlier than expected.

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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