NEWS7 December 2010

ONS budget cut consultation to close in two weeks

Government UK

UK— Researchers have two weeks left to have their say on planned cuts to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) output as the organisation faces up to a 17.4% cut in real terms to its budget over the next four years.

ONS budgets will rise next year from £287m to £316.8m to accommodate the Census, but will halve the following year to £166.4m while shrinking to £144.5m for the 2014/15 financial year.

Excluding cash already earmarked for the Census and the Beyond 2011 Census project, budgets will decline in each of the next four years to £130.9m. Money has also been pencilled in for the National Wellbeing Project.

Statutory outputs like economic and business statistics, labour market data and general demographic information will not be affected by the cuts. Likewise, business and social surveys such as the Labour Force Survey, the International Passenger Survey, the Living Costs and Food Survey and the Annual Business Survey among others will be maintained.

The ONS is focusing cuts on non-statutory outputs, a full list of which can be found in the consultation response document.

Although they are not required by law, the ONS notes, “many of these [non-statutory outputs] are critical for government policy and private sector decision making… The information from this consultation will help inform decisions about where the reductions would have the least impact”.

The consultation has been running through November and responses are needed by 24 December.