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Advertisements for sex shop are seen in Amsterdam’s red light district. EU reporting standards require that illegal but consensual economic transactions be recorded. By including the drug and sex trade in the national accounts, Britain will be joining Estonia, Austria, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Advertisements for sex shop are seen in Amsterdam’s red light district. EU reporting standards require that illegal but consensual economic transactions be recorded. By including the drug and sex trade in the national accounts, Britain will be joining Estonia, Austria, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
(PETER DEJONG/AP)

Sex and drugs and accounting in the U.K.

No one knew or probably cared then but as Britain plunged into recession in 2009, shedding jobs and piling up bankruptcies, the nation continued to entertain itself behind closed doors, spending £10-billion ($18.1-billion) on illegal drugs and prostitutes. The figure is arrived at using economic modelling but it comes from a very reputable source, the Office of National Statistics. Britain’s ONS is engaged in a bout of self-improvement, tweaking the way it measures economic activity, and the latest series of reforms to the way it adds up the numbers concludes that five years ago the British economy was £33-billion larger than we believed and almost a third of that missing slice of cake was hidden for a reason.