§ Mrs. Liddell
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the chief executive of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Roy Beggs, dated 23 July 1997.The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked me to reply, as Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to your recent question on what progress has been made in reviewing the methods by which the number of unemployed in the United Kingdom are quantified.588WThe ONS produces two measures of unemployment. The first is derived from the quarterly Labour Force Survey, and is defined on a consistent and internationally recognised basis set out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It counts as unemployed those people who are a) without a paid job, b) available to start work within the next two weeks and c) have either looked for work in the last four weeks or are waiting to start a job already obtained.The ONS also publishes the monthly claimant count, which is based on the administrative system and includes all people claiming unemployment-related benefits (i.e. Jobseekers Allowance or National Insurance credits) at Employment Service offices on the day of the monthly count, who on that day had signed on as unemployed and available to do any suitable work. Essentially, all people who attend an Employment Service office to sign on the designated day are counted.The ONS consultation exercise on the future presentation and dissemination of labour market statistics has been completed. Responses are being collated and analysed, and the ONS hopes to announce its plans by the end of July.