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Satellite accounts are a framework that enables attention to be focused on a certain field or aspect of economic and social life. They are produced in the context of national accounts but are more flexible as they allow concepts, definitions, accounting rules and classifications to be changed, where it improves analysis.

Publications

Consumer Trends
Department: Office for National Statistics
Contains details of Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HHFCE) for the UK. The main tables include all expenditure on goods and services by members of UK households.
Household Satellite Accounts
Department: Office for National Statistics
Statistics on unpaid household production, assigning monetary values to the goods and services produced for their own consumption and in the voluntary sector.
Tourism Satellite Account
Department: Office for National Statistics
This release is part of a series of Tourism Satellite Accounts produced by ONS following international guidelines and methodology.

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Overview

The National Accounts are produced to an internationally agreed framework. Whilst this ensures comparability between countries, it may not be the best way of presenting information about particular economic, social and political concerns. One way of improving the analysis of these areas is through the use of satellite accounts.  

Satellite accounts are a framework that enables attention to be focused on a certain field or aspect of economic and social life. They are produced in the context of national accounts but are more flexible as they allow concepts, definitions, accounting rules and classifications to be changed, where it improves analysis.

Depending on the specification, satellite accounts can be used to:

  • present information from National Accounts differently. For example, Tourism Satellite Accounts group activities by purpose rather than products and industries

  • add new information to core accounts. For example, Environmental Satellite Accounts link measures of emissions, material use, costs of remediation and environmental taxes to measures of economic activity

  • experiment with new concepts and methodologies, which may influence the development national accounts. For example, Research and Development Satellite Accounts reclassify activity from intermediate input to investment

  • value non-market outputs and inputs. For example, Household Satellite Accounts impute the value of unpaid work in households. Similarly, third-sector satellite accounts, value inputs to and outputs from, voluntary activity

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Technical Data

Environmental Satellite Accounts

Environmental Accounts provide information on the environmental impact of UK economic activity (in particular, on the emissions of pollutants) and on the importance of natural resources to the economy. UK Environmental Accounts are used to inform sustainable development policy, to model impacts of fiscal or monetary measures and to evaluate the environmental performance of different industrial sectors. Funded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Environmental Accounts have been published twice a year since 2002.

Research and Development Satellite Accounts

The Research and Development Satellite Account is being used to develop methodologies for treating expenditure on research and experimental development (R&D) as investment in an intangible scientific asset. This is in line with proposed revisions to the United Nations System of National Accounts.

Household Satellite Accounts

In 2002, ONS produced The Household Satellite Account (HHSA), which measured and valued unpaid household labour, household production and household output in the UK, such as cooking, cleaning, DIY and childcare. This Account has not been updated and there are no plans to do so.

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Glossary

  • Environmental accounting

    The physical and monetary accounts of environmental assets and the costs of their depletion and degradation.

  • Externalities

    Refer to situations where the effect of production or consumption of goods and services imposes costs or benefits on others, which are not reflected in the prices charged for the goods and services being provided. Pollution is an obvious example of a negative externality, also termed an external diseconomy. Chemicals dumped by an industrial plant into a lake may kill fish and plant life and affect the livelihood of fishermen and farmers nearby. In contrast, a positive externality or external economy may arise from the construction of a road which opens a new area, for example, for housing, commercial development and tourism. The invention of the transistor generated numerous positive externalities in the manufacture of modern telecommunication, stereo and computer equipment. Externalities arise when property rights cannot be clearly assigned.

  • Household production

    Household production is the set of activities carried out by household unincorporated enterprises that are not involved in market production.

  • Research and development

    Research and development by a market producer is an activity undertaken for the purpose of discovering or developing new products, including improved versions or qualities of existing products, or discovering or developing new or more efficient processes of production.

  • Satellite accounts

    A framework that enables attention to be focused on a certain field or aspect of economic and social life. They are produced in the context of national accounts but are more flexible as they allow concepts, definitions, accounting rules and classifications to be changed, where it improves analysis.

  • System of National Accounts

    The System of National Accounts (SNA) consists of a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macroeconomic accounts, balance sheets and tables based on a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Economic Analysis Division

Email: satellite.accounts@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1633 456374

Economic Analysis Division Office for National Statistics Newport NP10 8XG

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