2 months, 4 weeks ago

BBC deletes inaccurate child poverty claim

The BBC reported this morning on analysis predicting that child poverty is expected to rise under the Conservatives’ plans for government.

The Resolution Foundation think tank estimated that, because the party's manifesto does not propose changes to benefits, relative child poverty could reach 34% by 2023/24.

The BBC included a response from the Conservatives challenging the report which they reported as: “The Tories said 750,000 fewer children are in poverty since they took power.”

This claim is incorrect. No measure of child poverty shows a fall of 750,000 since 2010—most of the main measures show a rise. The measures that do show a fall put it at about 100,000, well short of the amount claimed.

The line was on the BBC website for most of this morning, but in the past hour the BBC has removed the claim from its article. At time of writing, the claim is still in the BBC’s morning news roundup.

It’s possible the BBC misquoted a Conservative quote to the Guardian, which the BBC actually quotes in full later on in its article. The Conservatives said that “We are committed to tackling child poverty and have made progress since we came into government – with 730,000 fewer children in workless households.”

The 730,000 figure is correct and shows the change in the estimated number of children in workless households between April to June 2010 and 2019. But it’s not a measure of poverty.

We’ve asked the BBC to confirm if the figure was misquoted, or if the Conservatives actually sent them the inaccurate claim.

2 months, 4 weeks ago

NHS funding boost not at record levels

 The Prime Minister has repeatedly made claims that the NHS is set to receive £34 billion and described this in a number of ways: as the biggest spending increase in modern memory, or a “record sum” or the biggest boost for a generation.

It’s certainly not a record sum and whether or not you think this is the biggest increase in modern memory really depends on how good your memory is.

The £34 billion is a spending increase in real terms of £20.5 billion between 2018/19 and 2023/24 (this was first announced in July 2018). The last time spending increased by at least that amount in real terms was between 2004/05 and 2009/10, when it increased by £24 billion in real terms.

We've written more about this here

3 months ago

Conservatives repeat misleading £2,400 cost of Labour figure

During his Conservative manifesto launch speech, Boris Johnson said Labour’s plans mean “higher taxes for everybody in this country, £2,400 extra.” The claim also appears in the Conservative manifesto.

This figure was first calculated by the Conservatives before the publication of Labour’s manifesto, so we called the calculation “largely meaningless”, as the Conservatives couldn’t know, at the time, exactly what Labour’s policies were.

Now that Labour’s manifesto has been published, we know it proposes £83 billion of increased spending by 2023/24. Labour has since announced compensation for the WASPI women at a cost of up to £58 billion in total (so an additional £11.5 billion per year).

If you divide that £83 billion figure by the number of income tax payers in the UK, it gives you a figure of roughly £2,600, or adding in the funding for WASPI women, the figure would be £3,000. But those figures are meaningless. They don’t mean that every income tax payer will have to pay this to fund the pledges.

That’s because Labour does not plan to fund its spending pledges through higher income tax for everybody (and even if it did, the cost would fall disproportionately on higher earners).

Labour doesn’t plan to raise income tax for those earning under £80,000 a year, and says that this increased spending will mainly be funded through taxes including corporation tax, a financial transactions tax, and higher income tax for those earning over £80,000 a year. 

The IFS says that “it is unlikely that one could raise the sums suggested by Labour from the tax policies they set out.” 

So Labour’s calculations have their problems, but it’s wrong to suggest that every income tax payer in the UK will fund every penny of Labour’s additional spending, and in equal amount.

3 months ago

Please do-nut publish misleading charts

A leaflet from Catherine West, the Labour party candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green, includes the following doughnut chart as evidence that “only a vote for Labour can guarantee Johnson won’t enter 10 Downing Street again.”

It claims to show the result of the 2017 general election in the constituency. It’s correct that Ms West won 65.4% of the vote as the Labour candidate. But the rest of the doughnut chart being blue suggests that the Conservatives took the remaining 34.6% of the vote.

That’s misleading. The Liberal Democrats took 16.1% of the vote, the Conservatives took 14.8% and the Greens took 1.9%.

 

3 months ago

Digesting the Conservative manifesto

Good afternoon. The big story yesterday was the launch of the Conservative manifesto, which we wrote about here

In particular we looked at how the pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers won’t restore the number lost since 2010, and how the pledge to recruit 50,000 “more nurses” hasn’t actually factored in the cost of eventually paying their salaries.

We’ve also examined comparisons between the day-to-day spending pledges of the three main UK parties. While the Conservatives have only pledged £3 billion a year of extra day-to-day spending in their manifesto, that doesn’t include pledges to increase spending on things like the NHS and schools made before the election. 

Today, among other things, we’re looking at other claims made yesterday on the Andrew Marr show from Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price on the support for Welsh independence, and Angela Rayner on how many women are in poverty because of the changes to state pension age.

We’ve also written about why Labour had to correct its broadband costings in its manifesto.

And from the Mail, please watch this amazing video of Michael Crick exposing a ruse from a Conservative party candidate.