The numbers game

"For me, good statistics is like sound money or clean water, it is an absolute necessity and if you do not have it things go seriously wrong." Sir Michael Scholar, chair-designate of the United Kingdom Statistics Board1 Few are more aware of the importance of statistical quality than central bankers, and particularly those charged with setting interest rates. The evidence they discuss and assess is based to a large extent on the output of national statistical offices supplemented by data from