It's official: prostitution and illegal drugs are big business in the U.K.
Britain's Office of National Statistics (ONS) is including estimates of spending on prostitutes and narcotic drugs in official economic spending reports for the first time this year, and according to ONS data released Tuesday, Brits have spent an average of £11.1 billion — roughly $18 billion — on those two vices every year since 1997.
In the second quarter of 2014 alone, Brits spent an estimated £1.67 billion on prostitution and narcotic drugs, which, as Business Insider noted, is more than the famously pub-loving nation spent on wine and cider during the same time period.
All told, spending on drugs and prostitutes adds about 1.4 percent to British household spending each year, the ONS noted.
Will official U.S. economic figures soon incorporate black market estimates?
“We need to look at the issue more closely to see what data are available before any decision could be made,” Bureau of Economic Analysis spokesperson Jeannine Aversa told the New York Times in June. “We haven’t done any research yet, so we don’t know how much [illegal sex and drug spending] would add to the U.S. economy as measured by G.D.P.”
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