49 people have already got tomorrow’s economic stats before they’re officially released... but who are they?

There are 49 people in this country who see data from the Office for National Statistics before the rest of us do, not including those who compile it.

Tomorrow at 9.30 we’ll get inflation figures, but there are already 49 people who know what the official inflation rate is, becasue they’ve been allowed a peek at the numbers.

In fact, some will have had up to three and a half working days to analyse the stats.

Earlier this month, the chair of the UK Statistics Authority Sir Andrew Dilnot wrote a letter to the government saying it was imperative that everyone in the country got the figures at the same time.

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According to official research, allowing some people to see the data before the rest of us undermines public confidence in the figures, he said.

Dilnot added: “Equality of access is a fundamental principle of statistical good practice, both in the UK and internationally. All the parties to public debate should, as far as possible, have the same information at the same time, and only the absolute minimum number of people should see official statistics in their final form before they are published. “

So who gets them first?

There are 49 people who always get them before us and even more when the Monetary Policy Committee is happening just before they’re released.

3.5 days notice (in months where the Monetary Policy Committee falls a three days before the release of the data, otherwise 24 hours)

  • The Chancellor and 18 people at the Treasury, including assistants and a press officer
  • The Governor and 22 others at the Bank of England, including members of the Monetary Policy Committee, assistants, secretaries and other BoE officials

24 hours notice

  • The Prime Minister and four of his advisors and secretaries
  • The Deputy Prime Minister and six people in his office
  • The Bank of England’s Monetary Analysis Prices Team (the government doesn’t tell us how many are on this team)
  • Secretary of state for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and seven other people at BIS.
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