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Public Bodies

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 5 May 2009, Official Report, columns 93-99W, on public bodies, for what reason (a) the Met Office, (b) Ordnance Survey, (c) Royal Mint and (d) the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre were reclassified as public corporations. (287278)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated July 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for what reason (a) the Meteorological Office, (b) Ordnance Survey, (c) Royal Mint and (d) the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre were reclassified as public corporations. (287278)

For national accounts purposes public sector entities are classified in line with international guidance. The guidance is set out in the United Nations' 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA93), and for the European Union in the 1995 European System of Accounts (ESA95).

In line with ESA 95 public sector market entities are classified as public corporations, either within the financial corporations sector or the non-financial corporations sector, and public sector non-market entities are classified in the general government sector. The borderline between market and non-market classification is dependent on whether more than fifty per cent of production costs are covered by sales.

(a) The Meteorological Office was classified as a public corporation from 1996. Prior to this it was classified as central government within the general government sector.

(b) Ordnance Survey was classified as a public corporation from 1999. Prior to this it was classified as central government within the general government sector.

(c) Royal Mint has been classified as a public corporation from 1975.

(d) Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre was classified as a public corporation from 1997. Prior to this it was classified to central government within the general government sector.

In May 2009 you asked a question (271969) which related to the definition of the Civil Service. Pursuant to this question, employees of the Meteorological Office, Ordnance Survey, Royal Mint and Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre are all included in the ONS' estimates for the Civil Service.