On 15 June 2017, the National Statistician announced that routine pre-release access to Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics would end from 1 July 2017. Following this, we have considered the dates of our publications to ensure that they continue to meet user needs. This included informal discussions with users, including those from across government. One of the issues raised was the proximity of labour market statistics to Prime Minister’s Questions.

Publication of labour market statistics on the day of Prime Minister’s Questions – one of the most important and most widely covered parliamentary occasions – means there is a risk that these detailed statistics are not fully understood by Parliamentarians on both sides of the House before they can be debated. This reduces the public value of these statistics.

Labour market statistics are some of the most high-profile statistics published by ONS, as they directly reflect the economic situation of people throughout the UK. These statistics are also complicated and multi-faceted: they include a wealth of information on national trends in employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, developments in wages and information on local labour market changes. There is also a strong interest in the position of overseas workers in the workforce.

To ensure that there is greater time to understand these statistics and promote public debate and scrutiny, we are bringing forward publication of labour market statistics from Wednesdays to Tuesdays.

Currently, the Consumer price inflation bulletin is published on Tuesday. This bulletin is highly topical as it includes the headline measure of inflation; along with the publication of business prices and house prices, it forms the prices theme day. To avoid the publication of two sets of important economic statistics on the same day and preserve the current practice of publishing the labour market and prices statistics on different days, the prices theme day will move to Wednesdays.

These changes to the release timetable follow previously announced improvements to the publishing schedule for national accounts, which involve moving to a monthly publication of Gross domestic product (GDP) in addition to a Quarterly national accounts release.

The new release dates, which will begin for labour market and prices in April 2018 and for national accounts in July 2018, are as follows: