The RSS launches its manifesto for the 2024 general election

We have launched our manifesto ahead of the July UK general election. ‘Statistics in Action: A manifesto for empowering society through data’ outlines three key areas where we believe the next government should focus its efforts to unlock the full benefits of data in the UK. These are:  
  • Better data for informed, transparent decision-making  
  • Balancing AI innovation and regulation  
  • Improving public understanding of statistics and data  
The pandemic has highlighted the power of data in decision-making and the importance of transparency when communicating it to the public. Our manifesto calls for improved data sharing within government, statistical training for ministers and adherence to the Code of Practice for Statistics, including ending the practice of pre-release access.  
Given the significant issue of inflation over the past few years, we advocate for the use of the Household Costs Indices, now published quarterly by ONS, when looking at the impact of costs on different households, something the RSS has long championed. 
The manifesto also emphasises the role of data and statistics in harnessing the potential of AI while protecting against its potential harms. We recommend increased funding for developing new evaluation methodologies to keep pace with technological advances, and a £250 million investment in open-source development.  
Statistical and data literacy are also vital for ensuring informed citizens and equipping society with the skills needed in a data-driven economy. We call for greater emphasis on data in maths education, an increase in the number of maths teachers and support for the public in evaluating statistical claims in the media.  
Commenting on the launch of the manifesto Dr Sarah Cumbers, RSS CEO, said ‘Statistics and data cut across so many societal issues, and this new manifesto shows the true power they can have in improving policymaking and, in turn, improving lives. We urge all parties to commit to our recommendations in the run up to July’s election.’  
RSS president, Dr Andrew Garrett, added, ‘Investing in data skills and data infrastructure has never been more important to the UK. Our manifesto recommendations aim to empower society to be better able to hold the next government accountable and to ensure policy decisions are supported by the evidence.’ 
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