Percentage (%) should replace penny (p) in economic analysis

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


A new report out today, written by Rohan Seth, calls for economic policies in the UK to be framed through the use of percentage, rather than penny.

The paper argues that penny (p) is a historical tradition inherited during William Pitt the Younger's tax reforms when the usage of percentage (%) was not prevalent. Now, however, the continued use of penny poses an interpretative problem for both policy makers and the public, impacting on "how the realities of economic policy are shaped."

By assessing the advantages and disadvantages of both units, the pamphlet concludes that due to distorted perceptions which occur by framing a policy under penny, the UK ought to begin a transition to produce its economic reports and even Budgets through percentage.

Report author, Rohan Seth, said:

"The usage of penny instead of percentage to represent the economic policies of the UK is an age old tradition that distorts perceptions of the very policies it is supposed to represent and should be rectified immediately by replacing it with percentage."

Bow Group Chairman, Ben Harris-Quinney, said:

"People plan their finances on the basis of percentage returns, and they should be informed of changes in government policy on the same basis.

It is no longer necessary, if it ever was, to infantilise the British people by explaining economic policy in terms of pounds and pennies rather than percentage values."

Bow Group Research Secretary, Peter Smith, said:

"It is time to update the public presentation of government economic statistics.

This eminently sensible paper makes proposals that would aid taxpayer understanding of their financial obligations.

The government should give it serious consideration."