Examination of Witness

Part of Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:47 am on 21st June 2022.

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Mairi Spowage:

I am not here to speak for the ONS, but I am a fellow, so they ask me and a group of other expert academics for advice on their work programme. They have published a subnational data strategy, which was worked up not just by the ONS but across the Government’s fiscal service, to think about how we can develop more sophisticated metrics across the UK to capture different levels of needs and progress. That would be to support not only the levelling-up agenda but things more broadly. In partnership with the Department for Levelling Up, the ONS is looking to develop more metrics across the UK. Some of that will be working closely with the devolved Administrations to develop data sources and think what might be comparable.

We have done a significant amount of work with the Economics Statistics Centre of Excellence. We published a paper recently on developing a suite of sub-national indicators across the UK. We made recommendations there, which included working closely with the devolved Administrations to develop data that was consistent across the UK, particularly on educational and environmental outcomes. A recent example would be something like fuel poverty, which is obviously a live discussion. It is measured differently in all four nations of the UK, so it is very hard to compare differential rates of fuel poverty in different parts of the UK at the moment.