National Accounts – Overview
This section contains historical national accounts data stretching back to 1086. The main sources for the historical data are the Broadberry, Campbell, Klein, Overton and van Leeuwen (2015), study of British Economic Growth, 1270-1870 and the Studies in National Income and Expenditure of the United Kingdom series by the Department of Applied Economics in Cambridge, particularly the contributions of Feinstein (1972) and Sefton and Weale (1995) who produce complete set of accounts for the period 1855-1965 and 1920-1990 respectively. This is supplemented by official national accounts data from 1948 from ONS under various systems of accounts. Section III of the Bank of England’s Millennium Dataset produces continuous historical time series from these different sources using particular assumptions. This is backed up by various digitised documentation on sources and methods and the complete set of Blue Books going back to 1941.
Historical UK National Accounts 1086 to the presentThe first four datasets here represent estimates of British and UK National accounts data back to 1270 with the kind permission of the authors, the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Press:
- British Economic Growth Dataset 1270-1870 (xls) from Steve Broadberry, Bruce Campbell, Alex Klein, Mark Overton and Bas van Leeuwen, British Economic Growth 1270-1870
- Feinstein (1972) National Income Expenditure and Output of the United Kingdom 1855-1965 (xls). These are the data tables from Professor Charles Feinstein's (1972) volume National Income, Expenditure and Output of the UK 1855-1965 and are also available in pdf. These are reproduced with the kind permission of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge and Professor Feinstein's family
- The estimates for capital formation, gross and net capital stocks and net trade were subsequently revised by Charles Feinstein in a joint study edited with Sidney Pollard. These data supersede those in the 1972 volume and are available in the spreadsheet Studies in Capital Formation in the United Kingdom 1750-1920 (xls).
- Sefton and Weale - Balanced National Accounts Estimates 1920-1990 (xls) by James Sefton and Martin Weale, from Reconciliation of National Income and Expenditure. Balanced Estimates of National Income for the United Kingdom, 1920–1990, © Cambridge University Press 1995
- Bank of England Millennium of Macroeconomic Data v3.1. Headline national accounts series from this dataset are available via FRED
Vintage or Real-time databases
Bank of EnglandThe Bank of England's vintage database contains monthly vintages of National Accounts data published since January 1990. Each vintage shows the data available on the last working day of the month. For a subset of the real expenditure variables, a longer history of quarterly vintages is also available. The database is available in Microsoft Excel format. It is updated every year following the publication of the ONS Blue Book. It was last updated in November 2016.
The 'read me' workbook details the available dataset. The data themselves can be found in the other workbooks. They all contain a 'menu' worksheet that lists the data available therein. Other worksheets contain successive vintages of data for individual series. Each vintage is a separate column, with the oldest vintage of data on the far left and the most recent vintage on the far right. At the top of each column is the publication date (i.e. the month in which that vintage was published).
- Read me (xls)
- Nominal expenditure (xlsx)
- Nominal income (xlsx)
- Real expenditure (long-run) (xlsx)
- Real expenditure (xlsx)
- Real output (xlsx)
- Expenditure deflators (xlsx)
- Macroeconomic balances (xlsx)
- Labour market quantities (xlsx)
Measuring WorthProfessor Sam Williamson at the Measuring Worth site has collected vintages of official United Kingdom GDP numbers, published annually since 1953 and quarterly since 1961. This is joint work with Enrico Berkes. The annual vintage dataset consists of 56 spreadsheets, one for each year starting in 1953 and then every year since 1959. They each present nominal GDP, real GDP, population, unemployed, real GDP per capita, nominal GDP per capita, and the implied deflator. Most of the series start in 1948 and go up to the year previous to when they are published.
Feinstein (1972) - National Income, Output and Expenditure of the UK 1855-1965, Sources and MethodsThe following chapters from Feinstein's work on National Income over the period 1855-1965 discuss the sources and methods used in the construction of the estimates in the spreadsheet in the datasets section. Permission to reproduce these has kindly been granted by the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge and Professor Feinstein's family.
- Chapter 1 - Introduction and Summary Tables
- Chapter 2 - Personal Income and Expenditure
- Chapter 3 - Companies and Public Corporations
- Chapter 4 - Central Government
- Chapter 5 - Local Authorities
- Chapter 6 - International Transactions
- Chapter 7 - Gross Trading Profits and Self Employment Income
- Chapter 8 - Rent
- Chapter 9 - Capital Formation
- Chapter 10 - Real Product
- Chapter 11 - Population and Labour Force
- Tables 1 to 65 (pdf)
- Tables 1 to 65 (xlsx)
Official sources and methods guides to the National AccountsThe complete set of volumes covering the sources and methods used in constructing the UK National Accounts since WW2 are available below:
- National Income Statistics Sources and Methods - 1956 (250MB)
- National Accounts Statistics Sources and Methods - Rita Maurice 1968 (330MB)
- The National Accounts - a short guide 1981 Harold Copeman (75MB)
- United Kingdom National Accounts Sources & Methods - 3rd Edition 1985 (208MB)
- ESA95 Sources and Methods for National Accounts 1998
- ESA95 United Kingdom Sector Classification for the National Accounts 1998 (62MB)
- The National Accounts A Short Guide - Pete Lee - 2011
- Annual National Income and Expenditure estimates for the UK ("Blue Books") from 1941
- Quarterly UK Economic Accounts (UKEA) from 1992
Excel files for certain Blue Books have kindly been provided by ONS from archived data in legacy systems. They have been provided on a best endeavours basis to enable users to obtain a series from a particular Blue Book vintage and are organised by series code (CDIDs). These have undergone simple checks against the published Blue Books but they need to be used with care. They contain backdata for many series which did not appear in the published Blue Book which typically would only involve a backrun of around 10 years for most series. Backdata in the files before this point may not have been subject to appropriate checks for methodological or classification discontinuities and accounting constraints. So users should be alert to potential series breaks. Where there is a discrepancy between a series in the excel file and the published Blue Book pdf file, the data in the published Blue Book should be taken to be the correct value. See Martin (2007) for a discussion of identified issues with historic Blue Book datasets after the introduction of ESA95 in 1998 and documentation of series which may contain errors.