Dear Richard

Use of unpublished statistics in news release

On 7 February 2021, a Press Story ‘Response to points raised in Road Haulage Association letter to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’ was published on the Cabinet Office website, responding to claims made in the Observer newspaper. This contains a number of claims based on unpublished data, and as such these figures cannot be verified. It is our expectation that any data used publicly by Government should be published in an accessible form, with appropriate explanations of context and sources.

We welcome plans by the Cabinet Office to publish further details about the data used in this news story.

The Cabinet Office should consider how, in future, it can be more transparent through the release of data. For example, it should ensure that where there is a significant reason to use unpublished management information in a public statement, the underlying data is published before or at the same time as the public statement[1]. If there is continued or anticipated public interest in the data, it should consider whether there is need for a new ad hoc or regular statistical release.

Yours sincerely


Ed Humpherson

Director General for Regulation


[1] See the National Statistician’s Guidance on Management Information and Official Statistics for more information


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Richard Laux response to Ed Humpherson: Use of unpublished statistics in news release