The Blue Book
was first published in August 1952 and presents a full set of economic accounts (national accounts) for the UK. These accounts are compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They record and describe economic activity in the UK and, as such, are used to support the formulation and monitoring of economic and social policies.
In the UK priority is given to the production of a single GDP estimate using income, production and expenditure data. Further analysis is available on the following:
- income analysis at current prices
- expenditure analysis at both current prices and chained volume measures
- value added analysis compiled on a quarterly basis in chained volume measures only
Income, capital and financial accounts are produced for non-financial corporations, financial corporations, general government, households and non-profit institutions serving households.
The accounts are fully integrated, but with a statistical discrepancy (known as the statistical adjustment), shown for each sector account. This reflects the difference between the sector net borrowing or lending from the capital account and the identified borrowing or lending in the financial accounts, which should theoretically be equal.
Financial transactions and balance sheets are produced for the rest of the world sector in respect of its dealings with the UK.
The main categories of improvements implemented in the Blue Book 2016 are:
- changes required under international standards and guidelines; European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010); Balance of Payments Manual 6 (BPM6) and the updated Manual on Government Deficit and Debt
- changes from ensuring comparability in measuring gross national income (GNI) across European Union countries
- other methodological changes to meet user needs, including implementation of the revised methodology for calculating imputed rental and updating the last base year and reference year from 2012 to 2013