UK to include illegal drugs and prostitution in official estimates of economy

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LONDON – Sex please — we’re British.

Britain’s Office of National Statistics says prostitution and the import, manufacture and consumption of illegal drugs should be counted when making the government’s quarterly calculations of gross domestic product.

The UK statistics agency says some of these activities are legal in certain European Union countries, and comparable figures are needed. At the moment, the only illegal activities included in GDP are estimates on alcohol and tobacco smuggling.

The ONS said Friday that the new estimates would add approximately 10 billion pounds ($16.7 billion) to the level of GDP in 2009.

ONS Chief Economic Adviser Joe Grice says that as economies develop and evolve, “so do the statistics we use to measure them.”

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