Russell George AM

National Assembly for Wales 
Cardiff Bay 
CF99 1NA

7 September 2017

Dear Mr. George,

It has come to the attention of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that various statements have been made about our role in the decision by the Welsh Government against proceeding with the Circuit of Wales project. I thought it would therefore be helpful briefly to set out ONS’s classifications processes to you and your Committee.

ONS routinely assesses infrastructure projects before they commence, in order to ensure they are classified in line with established international rules and guidance. In doing so, we work regularly with other government departments and administrative bodies, including the Welsh Government, who we have been working with closely on a range of different issues.

However, on this occasion ONS did not provide formal classifications advice in relation to the Circuit of Wales as it was not something we were asked to do. Additionally, ONS’s role in respect of infrastructure projects is strictly limited to deciding the appropriate statistical classification, so does not extend to being involved in the decision as to whether or not a particular project should go ahead.

I hope this information clarifies our processes, however should you require further information on ONS economic classifications, you can find it on our website.

Yours sincerely


Derek Bird

Head of Public Sector Division


CC:Glyn Jones, Chief Statistician, Welsh Government