Sex and drugs add billions to UK economy

30 May 2014

Cannabis Prostitution and illegal drugs contribute around £10 billion a year to the British Economy.

According to some new official data by the Office for National Statistics, prostitution is worth £5.3 billion and drugs make up £4.4 billion.

Together, they increase the level of GDP in 2009 - the most recent year which the ONS has calculated the data for - by around £10bn.

As for smuggling fags and booze, that figure is around £300 million.


The inclusion of these nefarious activities is part of changes being made to European Union regulations calculating GDP. Making up 0.7% of GDP, it's a similar figure to agriculture, gambling and accommodation solutions such as hotels and B&Bs.

All of which frankly dwarfs advertising, which is a paltry 0.5%, and laughs at real estate's dismal 0.35%.

Said Graeme Walker, head of national accounts at the ONS: "In terms of the new concepts coming in, illegal activities is the biggest. For the rest of GDP we do things like sending questionnaires to businesses, asking them how much they have earned."

"We don’t think it would be right to directly collect information on [illegal drugs and prostitution] and we have no plans to contact people involved in these activities. We think our data fits the purpose for giving people an idea of the size of illegal activity."

So how did they quantify whoring? Well, using a load of estimates, it was calculated from clients per week, average price per visit and rents and that. For the drugs, they surmised the cannabis figures based on users, street price and imports. Other drugs were based on police data, arrests and number of seizures. Jolly!

The national accounts, published in September 2014, will include the import, production and sale of illegal drugs as well as the provision of prostitution services.

So there's some light reading to look forward to in the future, eh? Still, now you know what you need to do this weekend in a bid to keep the economy afloat. Have a lovely weekend readers.

TOPICS:   Economy

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