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Information Note: Enhanced Sharing of International Trade in Goods Data between HMRC and ONS24 Aug 2015

HMRC currently shares some of the data it holds with ONS. These data are used by ONS to produce key official statistics, which are essential to informing government policy and the public debate on issues surrounding society and the economy. One of ONS’s uses of HMRC data is to help compile the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), a comprehensive list of UK businesses that is used by government for statistical purposes. It provides the main sampling frame for business surveys conducted by ONS and by other government departments, and is also a key data source for analyses of business activity.

Background

HMRC currently provides ONS with a list of businesses that import or export goods to or from the UK using data from Intrastat and Extrastat declarations. ONS uses this information to produce an indicator of whether or not each business listed on the IDBR engages in international trade in goods. HMRC intends to extend this data sharing arrangement by providing ONS with values of intra- and extra-EU trade in goods.

This extended data sharing arrangement will enable ONS to improve the utility of the information it holds on the IDBR in order to meet the needs of its users. In particular, the data could be used to enhance the quality and range of measures used by government for setting, monitoring and evaluating economic policies associated with improving the UK’s trading performance. Sharing data in this way is part of the Cabinet Office’s Open Data Initiative and enables government to effectively re-use existing data for the public good, meaning that businesses will not be burdened by being asked to provide information to government more than once.

This data sharing arrangement is permitted in accordance with the data sharing provisions of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The data to be shared with ONS will be used for statistical purposes only. ONS has a range of measures in place to ensure that the data are received, held and processed securely and cannot be shared with unauthorised persons. Data relating to individual businesses will not appear in the public domain as a result of this data sharing arrangement.

HMRC intends to share the data with ONS at the earliest opportunity, with the first transmission taking place this summer.